Coronavirus The mask recommendation is expanding in the workplace in Uusimaa: “We all need to stand together,” says EK’s expert doctor

Experts estimate that employers are tightening their requirements.

Face masks recommended from Monday in Uusimaa to all those present. The mask is recommended to be used both when moving around the workplace and in all encounters.

Expert doctor of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) Auli Rytivaara recalls that this is still a recommendation on the basis of which employers carry out a risk assessment and tighten up their masking practices if they deem it necessary.

“Based on the risk assessment, the employer can oblige employees to wear a mask and of course then offer them,” says Rytivaara.

New Rytivaara clearly sees the recommendation changed from the past and estimates that employers are now renewing their mask guidelines in a stricter direction.

“The new recommendation places more emphasis on the need for those present to wear a mask in all encounters. In the previous guideline, the use of a mask was less emphasized when the encounters are short and the distances can be considered sufficient. ”

Great the change in the new recommendation may not bring it to all jobs. According to Rytivaara, for example, EK already works with a face mask elsewhere except in its own study.

A wide range of practices can also develop in open-plan offices, because the offices have different space solutions.

“Can we make enough distances and sit so as not to encounter? Droplet infection is the biggest risk, ”Rytivaara reminds.

If there are sufficient distances in the open office so that the splashes do not meet and adequate ventilation, according to Rytivaara, a mask may not be needed based on a risk assessment.

Mash however, according to the new recommendation, it should be as soon as the employee leaves the station and encounters people. In the past, close contact was thought to be necessary to protect with a mask only when it lasted more than 15 minutes.

“If the encounter is short and there are splashes, a mask may be necessary,” says Rytivaara.

Rytivaara estimates that the companies have followed the safety instructions well so far. However, he hopes to pay more attention to mask use now.

“Together, we all need to stand up for the use of masks. Of course, it’s just one thing besides hand hygiene and safety intervals. ”

Monella face masks have been used very widely in the field and in the profession so far. For example, in trade, nursing and public transport, the mask is usually worn throughout the shift.

Director of the Institute of Occupational Health Tommi Alanko emphasizes that it is now the responsibility of employers to put new measures into practice.

“If employers see an increase in risk, new measures should be put in place to manage it. They can be different in different workplaces, work-related or time-related. Masks are one way. ”

In spring Finland switched extensively to teleworking in those workplaces where it was possible. Over the course of the autumn, the branches have been busier again.

Rytivaara estimates that the companies returned to the hybrid model a month ago.

“We work 1-3 days a week at work and otherwise at home. The share of telework has increased and may continue to increase, ”says Rytivaara.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area Coordination Group recommended the use of a face mask to all those present at all encounters and when moving around the workplace. The recommendation applies to both private and public sector jobs.

Early childhood staff were advised to use a face mask indoors whenever possible.

A recommendation for the use of face masks was also given to the high school. For high school students, cities offer masks, but you can also use your own face masks.

A face mask does not need to be used if there is a health barrier.

Rytivaara estimates that the vast majority are accustomed to the rapid use of the mask.

“Especially in office work where there is no physical exertion, the mask gets used quickly,” he says.

Not everyone can switch to telecommuting. For example, Akava’s membership is fairly evenly divided in terms of whether teleworking is possible.

“Our membership is more or less evenly distributed in terms of teleworking opportunities, as is the Finnish labor market in general,” says Akava’s Head of Working Life. Lotta Savinko.

According to Savingo, this is especially evident in the rehabilitation and health care, social, construction, trade and education sectors, where opportunities for telework are limited or non-existent.

According to a survey conducted this autumn, more than a quarter of Akava residents do not work remotely at all. Nearly half work at least 3-4 days a week, compared to 6% before the pandemic.

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