How to wear your Hair Net
- Brush and tie the hair back. Make sure it’s not tied too low down, as the Hairnet elastic needs to lay flat against the neckline.
- With the closure north to south hold the Hairnet open ready for donning. Wearing it this way, pulls the meshes closer together.
- Locate across the forehead and pull the Hairnet over the crown, ensuring all hair in the nape of the neck is covered.
- Locate under the ears, this ensures that the Hairnet is securely in place.
- Check all hair is fully enclosed, that the double elastic headband is lying flat and is located under the ears. If necessary, get a colleague to double check.
- Put on Visitor Coat and other PPE after the Hairnet has been worn. This ensures that any hair dislodged by adjusting, isn’t brought into the workplace.
Human Hair Loss
At a given time, approximately 90% of human hair is growing. These hairs are at no normal risk of being shed. The remaining 10% that are resting do give some concern to hygiene critical environments.
Whilst it is factually correct that the human scalp may shed around 100 hairs per day, it is not the case that this occurs at a constant rate throughout the day. The majority of natural, daily human hair loss is predictable and occurs when hairs that are ready for shedding are agitated through grooming processes such as washing, brushing and drying.
For the most part hairs about to be shed remain stably attached to the scalp. They do not need overbearing coverings. This would be counter-productive and interfere with the natural temperature control of the head which could lead to the wearer touching the hair. This may cause shedding at the worst time from a food hygiene perspective.
Hairnets function to provide a light, precautionary restraint against the minority of hairs that can remain precariously attached to the scalp between those times when cleansing and brushing activities occur.
Sources of Hair Agitation
The food operative is the most likely source of agitation of an unsecure hair nearing its shedding time. The head is an area of the body that is more sensitive to changes in temperature and with this comes a higher expectation of desire to touch it.
Poorly designed headwear can significantly exacerbate the frequency of hand to head contact.
Discomfort factors – restricted air flow
Hairnets that overly encase the head (such as cap style), or are worn in conjunction with other headwear (double-layering) are directly interfering with the body’s natural thermoregulation. Heat build-up, moisture and irritation are the result and this encourages the wearer to touch and fidget, inflating the chance of dislodging otherwise stable hair.
Less hair being visible may appear aesthetically reassuring, but, in actuality, restricted air flow elevates the danger of hair to food contamination.
Discomfort factors – skin indentation
Elastic headbands secure the Hairnet to the head. They are regularly a common source of discomfort unless properly constructed to lay-flat and apply evenly distributed pressure. Skin indentations that cause the wearer to adjust the elastic headband expose the hair to heightened risk of dislodgment.
Discomfort factors – the hairline
The hairline is a medically sensitive area, routinely featuring a more pronounced hair styling. Ideally, this area requires enhanced comfort and holding, which must be achieved without compromise to air flow.
Unwelcome staphylococcus bacteria found around the hair and scalp zone have a capacity to generate toxins associated with food poisoning. Each touch of the hair/scalp by a food operative is a potential microbial cross-contamination issue.
Restricted air flows, skin indentation and hairline discomfort increase the danger of an operative becoming a direct, personal source of bacterial contamination through hand to head and hand to food contact. The wearing of gloves alone does not eliminate this risk.
Overheating at the scalp is particularly to be avoided because a small rise in temperature can lead to a rapid growth in the bacteria multiplication rate.
Hair hygiene control factors compete against each other. Wider meshes potentially have a reduced ability to contain the hair, but will give strong air flows for coolness and reduce the temptation to touch. Tighter meshes increase hair hold, but raise the risk of overheating, fidgeting of the hair and bacterial cross-contamination.