Gov. Evers’ recently issued an executive order requiring statewide face covering inside private businesses and office spaces unless an exception applies. Businesses will not be required to provide face coverings for their employees or customers, though they can decide to offer face coverings to employees or customers. Local and state officials may enforce the order and violating the order may result in a civil fine up to $200.
Below are some FAQs we’ve gotten about Gov. Evers’ Statewide Face Covering Executive Order answered by AGC’s Safety Director – Dan Burazin.
1. What are the differences between the State of Wisconsin Mask Ordinance and the City of Milwaukee Mask Ordinance?
As I read them, the Milwaukee ordinance appears to be a bit more restrictive as to the wearing of masks. Where the State of Wisconsin requires the wearing of masks inside and, in certain instances, outside (where social distancing is difficult to achieve), the City requires masks both inside and outside. The State appears to have a few more exemptions than the City does as well.
2. What constitutes as an enclosed space? A roof? When windows are put in?
That’s a good question. Common sense tells us that an enclosed space is a space where ventilation tends to be more restrictive. Even OSHA has a difficult time defining “when does a building become a building? At what point during the construction process do we morph from an outdoor space to an indoor space?” With OSHA standards, this becomes an issue when placing fire extinguishers on the job because they call out “protected building space”. As far as I am aware, there is no official definition but here is where the common sense comes in. If the roof structure has been installed and/or the windows are in, it follows that ventilation and air flow will be restricted and therefore you are now “inside”. However, this explanation is NOT the definitive answer! Certain areas of the jobsite could be considered “enclosed” by nature of their physical characteristics. Each situation must be addressed and judged individually.
3. What does OSHA have to say about this Ordinance? Will they be enforcing it?
If you call the OSHA office here in Milwaukee, you will immediately get a response that says OSHA does NOT enforce state or local ordinances regarding face coverings. This is not surprising because we know that OSHA’s job is to enforce the OSHA Act. They will refer callers to the State or Local Health Departments. Where it may become an OSHA enforcement issue is if a worker is exposed to a hazard. There have been suggestions that the face covering could pose a hazard to the worker in that oxygen levels under the covering drop to dangerous levels. We understand there may be unique situations where individuals have breathing issues, but we suggest you review OSHA guidance for further information. OSHA even addresses this in their FAQs found on the OSHA website at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/covid-19-faq.html.
4. What is the AGC of Greater Milwaukee’s Stance on the State of Wisconsin Mask Ordinance?
The AGC of Greater Milwaukee’s stance on the State’s mandate is similar to its stance on the City mandate. While these policy measures are in place we are here to assist you in finding practical information and ways to comply with the requirements. As an industry, we have always prided ourselves on best safety practices and in this time we are proving that in addition to masks we can adopt measures to remain essential and safe. If we truly do have the worker’s best interest in mind, we will find ways. Many of our tradespeople are split on the wearing of face coverings but if we all remember why we are doing this, it becomes not only protection for the worker, but also for his/her family.
Still have questions about the Statewide Face Covering Executive Order? Contact Dan Burazin at 414-828-2803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.