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Rail Staff Mask Wearing - when will you stop?

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RailExplorer

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This question has been on my mind for ages. As each week passes, I see more and more rail staff and TfL staff wearing sunflower or mask exemption badges - or nothing at all and still congregated together at the gateline.

If you are still wearing a mask and you work on the railway front line, when will you say enough is enough?

The mask legislation, particularly on public transport could last years. I really don’t envisage it being revoked by June 21st (but I may be wrong).

This question could equally apply to any other customer facing role - supermarket workers for example.

Please no debates on the rights and wrongs of actually wearing a mask. Just a simple discussion about when you are ready to hang yours up permanently.
 
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bengley

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I've already done it. Causes me severe distress when combined with my glasses, plus with it now being mandated in staff areas too, I'd be wearing it for a significant portion of the day. I could just about tolerate it when it was for short times from the platform to the train.
 

Ivor

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Up until January I was working for 6 months at a main line station with my round trip of 1.5 hours commute plus an 8.5 hour shift on differing roles of Gateline & Customer Service I wore a mask & I must admit it was taking it’s toll especially as a wearer of glasses with temperature changes & talking I often steamed up.

Had a lack of shifts past 7 weeks (agency) & although a shortage of income the relief of not wearing a mask has been great.

Weekly we are reminded in emails from the agency to wear a mask on duty & we also get passed on the TOC reminders unless exempt.

Yes @RailExplorer I too get frustrated with some TOC staff & agency staff not adhering & they don’t have exemption.

If I could I would ‘hang mine up asap’ but would readily put on in busy scenarios or if passengers won’t socially distance especially when the worse for drink or substances (not unusual) Until told otherwise when working I will wear even when I’m working solo at some stations.
 

LowLevel

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When my employer tells me, I guess. They pay the piper, they pick the tune. They're not something that particularly bothers me, I've just got used to them. I don't think they're that keen on them to start with due to the impact on lip reading customers.
 

221129

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I too get frustrated with some TOC staff & agency staff not adhering & they don’t have exemption
Why? It's A. None of your business and B. You have no idea if they are exempt or not.

I stopped wearing mine about 3 weeks after it was mandated in Scotland.
 

yorkie

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Yes @RailExplorer I too get frustrated with some TOC staff & agency staff not adhering & they don’t have exemption.
How would you know if someone is covered by an exemption or not?

Interestingly, in a non-rail workplace where I work, masks became mandatory in more settings, and this led to more people choosing to exercise their exemptions; previously they only had to wear masks for short periods but once it becomes hours on end it becomes a real problem for many people.

Masks are also discriminatory against people with hearing impairments; any argument that the benefits of such discrimination outweighing the disbenefits are surely coming to an end soon, given ever increasing vaccination rates (and high levels of seroprevalence combined with very low levels of active infections)
 

baz962

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Up until January I was working for 6 months at a main line station with my round trip of 1.5 hours commute plus an 8.5 hour shift on differing roles of Gateline & Customer Service I wore a mask & I must admit it was taking it’s toll especially as a wearer of glasses with temperature changes & talking I often steamed up.

Had a lack of shifts past 7 weeks (agency) & although a shortage of income the relief of not wearing a mask has been great.

Weekly we are reminded in emails from the agency to wear a mask on duty & we also get passed on the TOC reminders unless exempt.

Yes @RailExplorer I too get frustrated with some TOC staff & agency staff not adhering & they don’t have exemption.

If I could I would ‘hang mine up asap’ but would readily put on in busy scenarios or if passengers won’t socially distance especially when the worse for drink or substances (not unusual) Until told otherwise when working I will wear even when I’m working solo at some stations.
Depends on the individual toc , but legally transport worker's are exempt and it's on the government website .
 

matt_world2004

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I will stop wearing a facemask travelling to and from work as soon as my employer ends covid related shift restrictions that I have benefited from.

Before lockdown my employer enforced a10% paycut on me and my colleagues. One of those conditions of a 10% paycut is that we were not required to wear uniform or specialist clothing too and from work.

So I will stop wearing a mask based on that condition alone and if I get stopped by the police/inspector I will point out that staff are generally exempt from wearing facemasks . That my employer renegotiated an employment contract with the requirement that I didn't have to wear any specialist clothing travelling too and from work.

I will also point out that if my job requires me to wear specialist clothing. Under the Workplace , Health safety and welfare regulations (1992) there is the requirement to be changing facilities /uniform storage facilities within my workplace. Which is currently not being provided.

This is more an act of spite against an unpopular employment contract than being in favour of or against masks though

I also sometimes do not wear one when eating on the train after working in a cold environment.
 
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RailExplorer

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Thanks for all your replies - it’s interesting to hear about your opinions. I began using an exemption lanyard a while back when wearing a mask went from a few minutes of each shift to almost the whole duration plus commute (as they have slowly added to the places at work it needs to be worn - even in the corridor between the mess room and toilet - my employer doesn’t seem to mind who wears a lanyard at all). At the start I was also commuting by car but as the roads became too congested I reverted back to commuting by public transport. This means that I use the exemption lanyard in all places because it became too difficult to wear a mask doing one activity and a lanyard doing another activity. It all just became too much. And from what I’ve seen, I’m certainly not alone in this.
 

_toommm_

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I really don’t get the complaints about glasses. Get a blue mask, pre-bend the nose bit so it fits snugly around your nose, and you’ll have no steaming or glasses-related discomfort.

With my commute, I wear it for 14 - 16 hours and I’m fine with that.
 

Richard Scott

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I really don’t get the complaints about glasses. Get a blue mask, pre-bend the nose bit so it fits snugly around your nose, and you’ll have no steaming or glasses-related discomfort.

With my commute, I wear it for 14 - 16 hours and I’m fine with that.
Rather you than me, 14-16 minutes is more than enough. Be glad when the wretched things go.
 

bengley

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I really don’t get the complaints about glasses. Get a blue mask, pre-bend the nose bit so it fits snugly around your nose, and you’ll have no steaming or glasses-related discomfort.

With my commute, I wear it for 14 - 16 hours and I’m fine with that.
That doesn't work for me to stop the steaming. And I do get the discomfort.

Also, I hope you change your mask regularly during those 14-16 hours because those disposable masks are only rated for a short time.
 

Mintona

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I really don’t get the complaints about glasses. Get a blue mask, pre-bend the nose bit so it fits snugly around your nose, and you’ll have no steaming or glasses-related discomfort.

With my commute, I wear it for 14 - 16 hours and I’m fine with that.

I’ve never managed to get a mask that doesn’t steam my glasses yet. I just wear a snood these days although with the warmer weather coming I might need a rethink.
 

Bayum

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Reading in between the lines, would I be correct in saying that some staff have been wearing sunflower lanyards without an underlying disability so they don’t have to wear a mask?
 

LowLevel

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Reading in between the lines, would I be correct in saying that some staff have been wearing sunflower lanyards without an underlying disability so they don’t have to wear a mask?

There's no need for an underlying disability.

  • where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
Covers most scenarios. Who decides what severe distress is?

I've heard of other TOCs insisting that anyone who can't wear a mask wear a sunflower lanyard though, presumably for the benefit of appearances.

To be fair I am getting pretty sick of it too. There is now a clampdown on wearing them in mess rooms, even with social distancing, unless you're eating and drinking so it's now 10 hours plus in some roles, every day. Yet if you work in an office it's fine to sit at a desk without.

I don't actually mind when I'm working but I resent my break times being impinged upon by managers who apparently have nothing better to do than check if I'm eating or drinking at a given moment.
 

matt_world2004

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There's no need for an underlying disability.

  • where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
Covers most scenarios. Who decides what severe distress is?

I've heard of other TOCs insisting that anyone who can't wear a mask wear a sunflower lanyard though, presumably for the benefit of appearances.

To be fair I am getting pretty sick of it too. There is now a clampdown on wearing them in mess rooms, even with social distancing, unless you're eating and drinking so it's now 10 hours plus in some roles, every day. Yet if you work in an office it's fine to sit at a desk without.

I don't actually mind when I'm working but I resent my break times being impinged upon by managers who apparently have nothing better to do than check if I'm eating or drinking at a given moment.
If your being required to wear a mask in mess rooms how does that enable you to freely dispose of your time to comply with break requirements.
 

_toommm_

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That doesn't work for me to stop the steaming. And I do get the discomfort.

Also, I hope you change your mask regularly during those 14-16 hours because those disposable masks are only rated for a short time.

I get through about three or four - I change after I get to work, and after both breaks. They turn not very nice otherwise.
 

djpontrack

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I may be the odd one out here but I will actually be sad to stop wearing a mask, for the simple reason that the scrotes that I have to deal with on a daily basis don’t recognise me outside of work.
 

matt_world2004

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I may be the odd one out here but I will actually be sad to stop wearing a mask, for the simple reason that the scrotes that I have to deal with on a daily basis don’t recognise me outside of work.
You could probably continue wearing after the pandemic ends if you want. We are going to become like Japan where mask wearing was commonplace before the pandemic because of things like Sars.

And no one can tell you what to wear outside working hours. (Including commuting too and from work).
 

scrapy

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I've heard of other TOCs insisting that anyone who can't wear a mask wear a sunflower lanyard though, presumably for the benefit of appearances.
Surely that's illegal. If before the pandemic a TOC suggested that everyone with a hidden disability has to wear a flowery lanyard round their neck whereas those who didn't didn't have to then there would be uproar. It's clear discrimination.

On that reasoning there is nothing to stop us going back to anyone who has learning difficulties at school wearing a hat with a D on it as well. People with disabilities should not be singled out to have wear something.
 

STINT47

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There is no legal requirement to wear a sunflower lanyard or any other form of proof. If asked saying I have an exemption should be enough.

I use the sunflower lanyard but that's my personal choice as it stops me being asked so often and I hope it makes things easier for train staff. I don't however like it and can understand why some don't want to use it.
 

david1212

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Masks are also discriminatory against people with hearing impairments; any argument that the benefits of such discrimination outweighing the disbenefits are surely coming to an end soon, given ever increasing vaccination rates (and high levels of seroprevalence combined with very low levels of active infections)

I had missed this post hence the slow reply.

My hearing loss is not just a straightforward loss of sensitivity but also discrimination. This means that some people are much more difficult to hear than others. Simply increasing the volume of my hearing aids makes no difference or is actually worse.
I have never formally had any lip reading training but it does help.

Masks have created two issues
- no possibility of lip reading
- the muffling of speech

Edit
Another issue is mask straps getting tangled up with hearing aids. I've been concerned about loss or damage. Masks with the elastic / strap right around the head would have been better but I have not seen them readily available.
 
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yorkie

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Masks are discriminatory and hopefully will be abolished very soon.

In the mean time if you wish to communicate with someone, if it was me I'd explain that I have a hearing impairment and ask the person if they can remove their mask to communicate.

Surely that's illegal.
It is; they cannot force people to wear a lanyard.

I may be the odd one out here but I will actually be sad to stop wearing a mask, for the simple reason that the scrotes that I have to deal with on a daily basis don’t recognise me outside of work.
I don't think anyone is going to mandate the non-wearing of masks any time soon (except of course if communicating with someone whose hearing is impaired, masks should be removed)
 

takno

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I don't think anyone is going to mandate the non-wearing of masks any time soon (except of course if communicating with someone whose hearing is impaired, masks should be removed)
I suspect places that don't getting vandalised or robbed might start being less supportive of wearing them fairly quickly
 
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