Knowledge Base

I heard that a beard breaks the seal in the face mask barrier. What are our obligations to educate workers on this issue and have you heard about cases that beards are an issue?

Beards do break the seal, especially for those masks which require a tighter seal all around the face seal. However, this is more so applicable to those scenarios when a tight seal around the face seal is required. For example, protection against welding fumes, certain chemicals, in health care settings etc. 

In context of COVID-19, when using surgical masks and cloth masks (which are quite common), the intent is to cover the nose and mouth. These are not designed as N95’s (which are more standardized). It some cases, even when wearing surgical or cloth masks, with no beard, the mask is still ill-ftting, with gaps near the nose or the sides of your cheeks.  It can be argued that with no beard, you can possibly achieve a better seal. Regardless, in context of the requirements in response to COVID-19, there is no mandate for the requirement of having no facial hair when wearing a facial mask/covering.  

In terms of obligations, it’s a good idea to create awareness that masks are not 100% effective, and have their limitations. Regardless of having a beard or not, the mask mandate is still applicable to them, unless exempt.  

Please reach out to the Alliance to be set-up with an advisor, if you would like further clarity on this question.