The spread of COVID-19 across the United States prompted Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the COVID-19 task force, to respond in aid of all healthcare workers. Early last week, Vice President Pence issued a call to action, requesting construction companies donate any unused N95 respirator masks and other protective equipment to hospitals and healthcare workers. These masks and other forms of personal protective equipment are to be donated to healthcare personnel working directly with those infected by COVID-19, or those who have come in contact with carriers of the virus.
“We are asking construction companies to donate their N95 masks to their local hospitals and also forgo making new orders,” said Vice President Pence during a White House Briefing.
In addition to the request from the Vice President, President Donald Trump also signed legislation allowing companies in possession of unused N95 to sell masks intended for industrial use back to healthcare workers.
N95 masks are different from other masks on the market because they fit tightly to the face and filter out small particles in the air. Commonly used by workers in the healthcare, painting, sanding and drywall industry, N95 masks protect against minuscule particles such as silica and dust. Due to the increase in the need for masks during the coronavirus outbreak, and the rush of citizens to buy the masks for prevention, N95 masks are scarce. Most verified online retailers are sold out of these necessary forms of protection.
In response to Vice President Pence’s request for masks to be donated by construction companies, the NAHB urged all members to support the cause. Asking members to contact their local and state HBAs for guidance, the NAHB is also asking to cease all orders of N95 masks in conjunction with Vice President Pence’s proposal.
The N95 masks are widely used in construction because of the protection they give, as well as to comply with OSHA’s regulations. To help ensure members are still in compliance with OSHA and staying safe, the NAHB developed several resources form members to utilize during this time. This allows for workers in the construction and housing industry to maintain progress on current projects, while also helping healthcare professionals across the country.
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