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Should beards be allowed on construction sites? Major construction firm says no!

Should beards be allowed on construction sites? Major construction firm says no!


Mears, a nationally recognised construction firm, has become one of the first in the industry to actively prevent their employees from attending work if they have a beard. This information has been released in light of a letter that was sent to all employees, which informed them about the new company policy.


Although this letter is from an employee who works in Tower Hamlets, it is thought that the whole of Mears’ UK workforce will have been given a similar letter.


The reasons for this decision are due to health and safety concerns. Executives state in the letter that, if an individual has a beard, they are unable to wear their dust mask safely, and this could lead to particles of dust entering the mask and therefore causing harm in the future. There are many health conditions that are linked with the breathing in of dust at work, including lung conditions, and many companies have been sued due to historical negligence in this respect.


Employees are told, however, that if they need to keep their beard for either health or religious reasons, they will need to provide a letter from an official to that effect, and that this is still no guarantee that they will be allowed to continue to do their job – as they would be breaking the health and safety regulations that are in place.


Anybody who fails to adhere to the new guidelines for reasons other than health or religion will be disciplined in line with company procedure.


Is this due to cost cutting?


Other experts have suggested that there are alternative dust masks available on the market which would mean that employees could wear them safely while still keeping their beard. Union representatives claim that Mears are merely trying to reduce the amount that they have to spend by forcing employees to change their physical appearance – when it may not be fair to do so.


Mears Respond


The company have responded to such claims in light of recent questioning about their new policy. They state that they find it astonishing that the union are taking this stance, considering that their job is to ensure that all employees are kept safe at all times while they are at work.


Mears state that, as an employer, they have the responsibility of always making sure that their employees are safe, and that they are provided with the best possible equipment to make this the case at all times.


Mears claimed that there is no dust mask that is available that will work without having a seal against the skin, and that this isn’t something that can be achieved when the individual wearing the mask has either a beard or a significant amount of stubble. The company would be prosecuted if it was found to be allowing employees to work without a dust mask that is able to do an effective job.


It is unclear exactly which direction this argument will take, however it is certainly not over, with much discussion needed about the extent to which an employer should be able to control what their employees wear or how they choose to have their facial hair. 

Posted by: Extraman Recruitment