Call us for a free Consultation on: 0333 772 0611

Don’t cut corners with health and safety

When workers on a construction site were told they had to be clean shaven an employer’s policy regarding the appearance of its workers once again made headline news.

The beard ban introduced by the construction firm is for health and safety reasons and to ensure that face masks fit tightly when staff are working in dusty environments.

A letter reportedly sent to employees warned that a failure to adhere to the rule ‘would be taken down the disciplinary route.’

The policy became a news story and received widespread media coverage (1) as can tend to happen when health and safety is cited as reason for a new workplace policy.

Previous examples of what is said to be ‘health and safety gone mad’ have sparked a media frenzy. This includes a story about an award-winning lollipop lady banned from high-fiving pupils crossing the road because it may distract them (2).

All employers have a duty of care (3) to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing.

Health and safety should always be a top priority for employers and should never be ignored as it can have serious and costly consequences.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (4) and local authorities are responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation. Every year the HSE prosecute employers who are fined millions pounds for failing to protect their staff, clients or members of the public.

The most recent figures which are for 2015/16 show that prosecutions led to fines totalling to £38.3 million compared to the £18.1 million in fines from 2014/15 (5).

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (6) is an act of Parliament and the main piece of UK health and safety legislation. It places a duty on all employers "to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work" of all their employees.


1. Khomami N. Construction firm Mears bans workers from having beards. The Guardian [Internet]. 2017 Jun 1 [cited 2017 Jun 12]; Available from:

2. Reporters T. Outcry as school lollipop lady banned from ‘high-fiving’ children. The Telegraph [Internet]. 2016 Dec 15 [cited 2017 Jun 12]; Available from:

3. The Cube 123 Albion Street. An employer’s duty of care can manifest itself in many different ways. Find out more | Acas workplace snippets [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2017 Jun 12]. Available from:

4. HSE: About the Health and Safety Executive [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jun 12]. Available from:

5. Statistics - Enforcement [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jun 12]. Available from:

6. Participation E. Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jun 12]. Available from:

Were here to help when you need it.

   "A reputation built on Success"

We offer support on a wide range of employment law and HR issues. Our dedicated adviser are here to answer your questions and help you with your concerns. Your call is free and with no oblgation. Calls may be recorded for monitoring and training purposes.

Call us today on 0333 772 0611 or request a call back

Minimize close

Request a call back

Recent Posts




Very helpful 15 minute consultation. Would be happy to consult again. Many thanks.



I got a call back from them on the same day and it's been very helpful and understanding,Many thanks



What an amazing team. I recently found myself on suspension after a call of mine was monitored by the company I work for. I felt at the time that it was unfair and did acknowledge the mistake straight away.



Fantastic support and high quality service in a difficult time of my life. I got clear advice on my rights and would definitely recommend Castle Associates to anyone.



Brilliant advice. Gave me fantastic invaluable advice on my situation and I would definitely highly recommend using them.



From a very horrible 2 years of grievances with my work manager and work place of 10 years. I unfortunately was left at a dismissal hearing with no representation or Union member to help me show and explain my side of the issues involved.



I emailed last night and received a call back this morning from the adviser. She was extremely patient and helpful. Thank you.



Emailed for some advice and my call was returned in less that 12 hours - very happy with advice given.



Very helpful answering my queries, they got in touch very quickly and provided with free advice over the phone.



I appreciated the time with an adviser who lead important information to me and was very supportive.