In one of the organization’s largest procurement and distribution efforts ever, Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) shipped cloth masks in June to all International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) locals nationwide, enough for every dues-paying member to receive one.
These masks, customized with the SMOHIT logo, consist of two layers with a pocket for exchangeable filter media.
The use of masks is part of a comprehensive package of prevention and control measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19. These masks are designed for off-the-job use when members are in public and cannot reliably maintain the recommended 6 feet distance from others.
It is important to note that cloth masks may not protect the wearer from droplets produced by others. Rather, they help protect others from droplets produced by the wearer that are released during breathing, coughing and sneezing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These are not the N95 masks approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) nor a replacement for the personal protective equipment that employers should provide to members for use at the job site in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines and requirements.
Finally, the cloth mask should be machine washed after each use. Members should also wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after removing their masks, since the exterior may become contaminated as a result of use.
For more information on face masks, please see the following resources provided by the CDC:
Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings
About Cloth Face Coverings
How to Wash Cloth Face Coverings
Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission
SMOHIT also sent each dues-paying member a 5-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer consisting of 70% ethyl alcohol content, shown to be an effective antimicrobial agent in the hope these resources will help keep members healthy and safe.