The coronavirus outbreak has not changed your duty as an employer to protect people in your workplace from health and safety risks. This includes making sure they are not exposed to hazardous substances as part of their work.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It includes different types of respiratory protective equipment (RPE), such as respirators.
Face coverings are not PPE as they do not protect people from work-related hazardous substances. They may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure against coronavirus – find out more - Face coverings and face masks.
PPE for protection against coronavirus is generally only required for certain healthcare activities. In a non-clinical setting, there is no need to provide different PPE than you would normally have provided before the outbreak started.
If you have problems with the supply of your masks or other RPE, read how to work safely and manage your supplies of RPE.
Using any form of PPE is a last resort after you have assessed the risks. Find out more in our employer's guidance on your legal duties for providing PPE at work.