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Case 221 - Paper mill requires workers to remove wedding rings

Issue

A Health and Safety Officer in a paper mill is saying all staff have to remove their wedding rings or they will be sent off the premises. The enquirer has been married almost 40 years and he has never removed it.

Panel decision

The employer’s policy that rings should not be worn when working on or close to moving machinery is sensible, and supported by industry guidance going back many years. However, whilst removal might be part of a safe system of work for particular tasks, this does not mean a blanket ban is required. For some people it is impossible to remove tight finger rings which may not have been removed for many years. In such cases it may be possible to tightly tape over the ring but ensuring the tape end is well stuck down so as to prevent an entanglement hazard.

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2013-11-05