Turban-wearing Sikhs are exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace. As the HSE website states: Sections 11 and 12 of the Employment Act 1989 as amended by Section 6 of the Deregulation Act 2015 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any legal requirement to wear head protection at a workplace.
The exemption applies solely to members of the Sikh religion and only those Sikhs that wear a turban, and does not differentiate between employees and other turban-wearing Sikhs that may be in the workplace, e.g. contractors and visitors. Sikhs are required to wear all other necessary personal protective equipment.
Employers are still required to take all necessary actions to as much as practicable to control risks by means other than the need to wear head protection by putting in place such safe systems of work, control measures and engineering solutions.
If, after these controls are in place there remains a significant risk of head injury and head protection would normally be a necessary, we would suggest the following alternatives:
- provide head protection if turban-wearing Sikhs are prepared to wear it voluntarily or;
- re-deploying them away from exposure to those risks, and/or preventing them from entering areas of such risk, if they are not prepared to wear head protection
The HSE also state that, where a turban-wearing Sikh chooses not to wear the head protection provided, the exemption includes a limitation on the liability of the duty-holder should an incident occur.