Body odour at work is set to be banned by fire chiefs in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes

Fire chiefs are turning up the heat on smelly employees who turn up for work without having a wash and brush up first.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 2:05 pm
A fire engine

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is updating its Code of Conduct and tomorrow’s (Wednesday) Executive Committee in Aylesbury will consider adopting new sections on personal hygiene, and the banning of cosmetics worn by firefighters.

The authority’s draft new Code of Conduct, which sets the framework for high standards and ethics of the force, says: “Employees should come to work having attended to their personal hygiene each day, with clean clothes and hair and free from unpleasant odours.

“Line managers should ensure that employees under their supervision follow the standards of dress, are responsible for identifying cases that do not meet with this code, and for taking appropriate action to resolve such matters.”

A fire engine

It adds that employees on the frontline must ensure that facial hair does not get in the way of their vital facemasks.

“Operational employees must also comply with the Facial Hair and Cosmetics procedure and ensure that the integrity of the facemask is not detrimentally affected by the wearing of cosmetics.”

A fire authority spokesman said the Code of Conduct gives managers the policy framework to speak to employees. He said: “As part of the consultation process, the question of what constitutes an acceptable standard of personal hygiene was raised. In response to consultation feedback, further wording was added to the document.

“From time to time, sensitive personal discussions are needed with employees. By including information in the Code of Conduct, it gives managers some parameters to have these discussions should the need arise.”

He also said cosmetics can affect the seal of their facemasks.

“Operational employees are asked to be responsible with the use of cosmetics as this may affect the seal of their facemask.

“Regarding facial creams and make-up, Draeger (Breathing Apparatus supplier) do not recommend the use of these products for any face mask wear as they affect the longevity of the facemask seal, causing deformation of the seal.

“This is due to the chemicals within the products being absorbed into the rubber seal. Wiping with mask wipes does not remove all of these chemicals.”

The updated code of conduct covers an array of issues, including smoking and vaping, personal data, political neutrality, counter fraud, whistleblowing, and cyberbullying.

The draft code will be presented by Lynne Swift, the authority’s director of people and organisational development, and lead member Cllr Steven Lambert (Lib Dem, Aylesbury West).

Its foreword says: “The public expect the highest standards of professional conduct from all employees. This code provides information for employees on the minimum expected standards of professional conduct.

“It is not exhaustive, and does not address every possible circumstance. Simply because a particular action may not be addressed within the code, does not condone that action by its omission.”