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Face Fit Test Refusal

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Mikejames161
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Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by Mikejames161 » Mon May 13, 2019 12:45 pm

Hello all

Would like to get some thoughts on this situation. My company sent me on a face fit tester course so that I can test the operatives in the company. A few operatives refused to be face fit tested. Considering the refusal where would the company stand legally as we cannot force a hood onto them?

Thank you in advance

Mike

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Re: Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by bernicarey » Mon May 13, 2019 1:51 pm

HSWA 1974 s7
General duties of employees at work.

It shall be the duty of every employee while at work—

(a)to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and

(b)as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with.
Ultimately, if they refuse to cooperate with a reasonable requirement, what do you think?

Cooperate.... or find another job. It's not a game; it's about saving people's lives. Just like breaking any other law, there's penalties involved.
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Re: Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by Mikejames161 » Mon May 13, 2019 3:23 pm

Thank you. If only I had the power to do that :-)

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Re: Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by bernicarey » Mon May 13, 2019 3:47 pm

Well that's what it comes down to.
The Law is clear that they have to cooperate; so if they don't, the only way for the employer to comply with the law is to remove the law breakers from their employment.
Basically, you give them the facts; if you want a job, you comply with the law. No different from other workers.
Just substitute 'No mask that Fits?
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Blackstone
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Re: Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by Blackstone » Mon May 13, 2019 4:27 pm

I agree with that stance. Even having the power still makes that a last resort.

If one of my welder refused face fit testing, would I want him to find another job...probably.
Could the company afford to loose a welder knowing the difficulty replacing him to the required standard...no, it would severely hamper the company!

Even having the power to say bye bye, doesn't make it the best think for the company.

Have you asked the reasons for the employees refusing to be face fit tested? Are they claustrophobic, old school, don't want to shave a beard?
Have you explained the reasons for the face fit testing is to protect them from ill health, etc, etc? Do they need more training to understand?

Those would be the steps I would want to understand.

Glen
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Re: Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by danwel » Mon May 13, 2019 11:46 pm

This is a bit of area that really annoys me because very often we talk the talk and ensure we have the rights systems and PPE in place and now essentially you have someone who won't do the face fit test and wont wear a mask because they don't want to shave off their designer beard (obviously could be more to it than that). Yet you have upper management saying that we can't afford to lose this guy so we let him break the rules !!

Ultimately you need to understand the reasons why he won't do it and my situation is based on him not wanting to shave but as has said there could eb al to more to it, who knows.

It begs the question, if you can't afford to lose him can you afford a law suit when this guy contracts a disease and sues the company for not providing the right PPE for the job or enforcing it.
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Re: Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by abarnett » Tue May 14, 2019 10:22 am

For me there's three steps to this:

Firstly, understand the reason for the objection and seek to objection handle it

Secondly, offer alternative RPE if possible that doesn't necessarily need a face fit test e.g. powered helmet

Thirdly, if those are exhausted and they aren't willing to engage then that is the employee willfully breaching s7 and, most likely, a contractual breach for failing to follow a reasonable management instruction which, in most organisations, is gross misconduct.

Yes it's a last resort - and rightly so, but the threat may just be enough. Potentially you may need to follow through and make an example of one to bring the rest in line. A horrible way to do it but, ultimately, there is a legal obligation on both you and your employees....

Andy
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Re: Face Fit Test Refusal

Post by Mikejames161 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:43 am

Thank you all for your comments. All are very helpful

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