State snow plow drivers need not wear masks when driving alone, the Vermont Agency of Transportation decided this week. The decision reverses a mandatory masking policy.
Until January 7, all snow plow drivers were required to wear the masks even when driving solo. Then the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA) argued mandatory masking is dangerous because it can make the driver’s glasses fog up. AOT relented, while still requiring that drivers wear the masks around their necks at all times.
According to an article in the January 8 VSEA Week In Action Newsletter, “VSEA’s AOT plow operators pushed back immediately against the AOT mask policy because, in their opinion, it could jeopardize the operator’s safety and the public’s. Many said the masks caused their glasses to fog up, making what was already tough visibility even tougher. The members also pointed to other occupations where the employee is solo in a vehicle but is permitted to operate it unmasked, i.e. troopers, local law enforcement, tow operators, etc..”
“I was pleased to hear about the relaxation of the AOT policy,” VSEA President Aimee Towne said. “Our AOT brothers and sisters provide a critical service to Vermonters, especially during snow season, when they are known to work plenty of extra hours, and I thank them for bringing this potentially serious safety issue to our attention and then working with us to create change.”
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