Cal/OSHA Guidelines: Employers Must Provide Respirators, But Don’t Get Duped!


By Molly Wood, SPHR. SDEA HR Consultant

The updated Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards that were released on June 17, 2021 allow fully vaccinated employees not to wear face coverings indoors, and requires employers to document those workers vaccination status. Unvaccinated employees are required to wear face coverings indoors.

In addition, the regulations require employers to provide unvaccinated employees with approved respirators upon request. Respirators is a fancy way of saying N95 masks. Employers may either stock N95 masks, or they may poll workers to determine which employees want them before ordering. Masks should be replaced after they are worn five times. 

There have been several high-profile incidents of fake N95 masks being sold, including thousands being sold to the Washington State Hospital Association and $1.7M paid by the city of Houston for counterfeit N95 masks. That being said, Amazon may not be the most reliable place to get your N95 supply.

In order to ensure that you have masks that are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), confirm that your masks have the following markings:

  • Approval number: TC-84A-xxxx
  • Model Number
  • Lot number (recommended but not required)
  • Filter Class (N, P, or R) and Filter Efficiency Level (95, 99, or 100)
  • NIOSH man in block letters or NIOSH logo
  • Brand name, registered trademark, or an easily understood abbreviation.

SDEA members can get a 30% off coupon from MediDent Supplies, the exclusive FDA importer for the State of California contract. Go to the MediDent Supplies website and enter SDEA30 in the “Have a coupon?” section when you check out to get your discount.  

SDEA members enjoy discounts with our partner vendors including MediDent Supplies and, along with unlimited HR support via telephone or email. Don’t hesitate to call, 858.505.0024.

Contact us: 858.505.0024