The German social accident insurance institutions for the public and private sectors have been receiving more and more enquiries about the use of masks. Many of these enquires are related to the concern that wearing masks can be dangerous to a person’s health.
The DGUV therefore explains in a press release that it currently has no evidence that wearing a fabric mask interferes with breathing to a degree that is dangerous to health or could trigger “CO2 poisoning”. Conversely, the social accident insurance institutions see masks as a way to reduce the risk of droplet infections with the Sars-CoV-2 when minimum distancing is not guaranteed.
In a recommendation published in May, they recommend that masks should be worn for two hours during medium-heavy physical work, followed by a recovery period of 30 minutes. The aim of the recovery period is to be able to take off the mask and not to take a break from work. For light work, a mask can be worn for 3 hours. In practice, it is also often possible to remove the mask for a short period of time, depending on the situation and when a minimum distance of 1.5m to other persons can be guaranteed. In these cases, it should normally be possible to have a sufficient recovery period.
Many questions also come from school directors and pupils parents. The DGUV states in a second press release that if children are injured while attending school they are covered by the German social accident insurance system. This protection also extends to cases where insured persons suffer damage to their health as a result of a measure introduced for their protection. For example, if an insured person falls and injures himself because his glasses have been fogged up by wearing a mask, the responsible social insurance institution may officially recognise the fall as an accident at work.