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Does your department prohibit hair under the lip? If they do how do they justify this, safety? or uniformity?

Does your department prohibit hair under the lip? If they do how do they justify this, safety? or uniformity?

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Usually it is any facial hair that interferes with the seal of the mask.  Beards are notorious for creating leaks in the mask seal and you loose air faster.  So in a nutshell it is safety that prevents our members from having facial hair.  It sucks but its true, I have a Goat-Tee and it interferes with my seal so I have to trim it a certain way around the jaw line to help myself get air better.

Simple no beards or gotees , or fu manchu mustaches , simply put by having a Policy and our Medical Provider who who does our Fit tests and Phyiscals to enforce it , then we enforce it thru our policy.

Uniformity among everyone


-Our facial hair policy is for uniformity as well as to be compliant with the OSHA directive of facial hair interfering with seal of the face piece. 

-Male facial hair is restricted to wearing a mustache only. Beards, in any form, are not permitted; no long sideburns, no soul patch, no Van Dyke or goatee. 

-We no longer use the military grooming guidelines and the department is very tolerant providing the mustache is neat and clean in appearance. The standard issue mustache remains popular as is the longer Fu Manchu; and strangely enough the old fashion handlebar, which I think looks really cool, is also in vogue.

-Most of the guys that wear a mustache usually do so for a short time. Then there are those of us, myself included, that have worn a mustache for so long that I think I would fall over without the added weight. 

-It seems that when we had the harder rule enforcement there were more problems. Once the rules were relaxed the issues went away; the majority of firefighters are clean shaven now.

-Male hair length is still the military standards. Females are restricted in hair length to the collar and only a pony tail is permitted, no braiding.

We cannot have any facial hair other than a mustache. We do have some departments nearby that are allowing goatees and I don't know how they get away with it. One department allows full beards. When asked, nobody has been able to justify this in regards to the OSHA compliance issue.
The issue is the Respiratory Protection Standard CFR
1910. 134
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.

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