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What are the OSHA Facial Hair Regulations?

What are the OSHA Facial Hair Regulations?


Looking for the rules and regulations about facial hair?

The rules have been bent by many a firefighter who just can’t part with his beard. Some departments will allow facial hair if and ONLY if the hair does not interfere with a seal. In the next page of this article, the Washington Times details the story of a Muslim firefighter who sued his state, claiming that his beard did not interfere with his mask’s seal. The department flat out refused to test him until he shaved his beard.

In that case, the judge ruled that the department was required to test him and was wrong to refuse the test. However, the judge also ruled that safety outweighed religion in that case.

As always, safety is the first concern. Would you really choose your beard over your life?

OSHA states:


Facepiece seal protection.


The employer shall not permit respirators with tight-fitting facepieces to be worn by employees who have:


Facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face or that interferes with valve function; or


Any condition that interferes with the face-to-facepiece seal or valve function.


If an employee wears corrective glasses or goggles or other personal protective equipment, the employer shall ensure that such equipment is worn in a manner that does not interfere with the seal of the facepiece to the face of the user.


For all tight-fitting respirators, the employer shall ensure that employees perform a user seal check each time they put on the respirator using the procedures in Appendix B-1 or procedures recommended by the respirator manufacturer that the employer demonstrates are as effective as those in Appendix B-1 of this section.

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