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Does OSHA Regulate Hairstyles?

Q: I work in an Ophthalmology medical office and have been told I must wear my hair up due to OSHA regulations. I wanted to know if that was true since in my entire career in Ophthalmology I have never had to do that before.

A: OSHA doesn't address wearing the hair a particular way in the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. However, if the equipment used in your office had a "pinch point" that hair could be caught in, leading to a scalping injury, OSHA standards to protect workers would definitely apply. This type of machinery is common in manufacturing settings, but I'm not familiar with any heavy equipment that would be present in an Ophthalmology practice.

With that said, most healthcare facilities set their own company policies regarding dress and appearance, mainly to present a professional image. Many facilities ban bare legs, sandals, tank tops, miniskirts, unnatural hair colors and face piercing. However, these dress codes are not OSHA regulated or a safety issue. The extent to which a practice wants to govern employee appearance is entirely up to that facility's management (as long as it is not sexual discrimination, there have been several lawsuits on these types of dress codes) and depends on the image the practice wishes to convey to the public.

Posted by Quality America on March 12, 2007 | Comments (2)


Thank you for you input. It is not a company policy from what I was told. I heard OSHA reguired that. Thanks again.

Posted by: Nicole at March 12, 2007 06:17 PM

I am quite certain wearing the hair up in an Ophthalmology office is not an OSHA requirement. If you want to continue to pursue this, you might ask your employer to produce the OSHA standard where they say this is written. Hope it helps!

Posted by: Sarah Alholm at April 2, 2007 11:22 AM

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