The current trend of blokes with facial hair has led to a lot of people asking if guys can be face fitted for respiratory protective face masks if they have facial hair. Here is the answer below:
With regards to shaving, a tight fitting face piece i.e, an FFP or half or full mask cannot be face fitted unless the person is clean shaven. Moreover, a person cannot wear a face mask in any event unless he is clean shaven.
So unless the employer can engineer out the problem, the employee is at risk of respiratory exposure. So in effect, the employer is failing in his duties in accordance with Regulation 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974. Safe places of work, safe equipment, information, instruction and training, etc.
An employer cannot force any one to shave but that aside, it does not excuse him of the duty to ensure his employees are safe.
He would also be likely breaching Reg 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR 99) requiring him to risk assess all work activity and more than likely the CoSHH regulations as well.
Update: June ’17
At the beginning of this month construction firm Mears banned workers from having beards (article) which looks likely to reignite the debate.
We have no upcoming dates for face fitting but if you require face fitting for your workers please get in touch on 0117 971 1892 or firstname.lastname@example.org