NSC Statement on Updated CDC Mask Guidance

Ultimately, the clearest route to ensure worker safety is for employers to prioritize vaccination.

July 27, 2021

Itasca, IL – Following the latest CDC mask guidance related to the highly transmissible delta variant, the National Safety Council renews its plea to employers to act as leaders in vaccine uptake.  

The CDC’s encouragement of indoor masking by vaccinated individuals in areas with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission underscores the heightened risk the delta variant poses and points to a heightened sense of urgency for vaccine compliance. The guidance is in part responsive to new CDC data indicating a greater likelihood that vaccinated individuals can transmit the delta variant, thus increasing the risk a vaccinated employee may transmit illness to an unvaccinated colleague or family member, particularly children under the age of 12, who are not eligible for vaccines at this time.   

Ultimately, the clearest route to ensure worker safety is for employers to prioritize getting their workforce vaccinated. This goal may be supported through incentives, mandates and information sharing. NSC previously shared guidelines to encourage vaccine uptake, including paid time off for immunization and recovery, on-site vaccination clinics, help with scheduling and transportation, and support of peer-to-peer vaccination promotion efforts.

Overall, NSC continues to recommend employers follow CDC guidelines and take a risk-based approach based on their specific work environment to manage the safety of all workers, emphasizing that the new findings regarding transmission rates extends the concerns beyond the reach of the individual employee. NSC, through its SAFER effort previously recommended employers monitor information about variants, infection rates and vaccination rates in their state and county, and implement control measures in the workplace as appropriate, including re-instating masking and social distancing, which may have been previously discontinued.  

NSC stands ready to help employers navigate this evolving situation so they prioritize the health and safety of their workforce. 

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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