Ban on 'construction wear' in Fresh supermarket eating area 'highly insulting'

The supermarket Fresh is defending its decision to ban people wearing ‘construction workwear’...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.15 6 Sep 2022

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Ban on 'construction wear' in...

Ban on 'construction wear' in Fresh supermarket eating area 'highly insulting'

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.15 6 Sep 2022

Share this article

The supermarket Fresh is defending its decision to ban people wearing ‘construction workwear’ from in its in-store eating area.

The supermarket recently put up signs in one of its Dublin stores noting that in order to provide a clean dining area, people wearing construction workwear or carrying tools would no longer be permitted to eat inside.

On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, caller Jules from Dublin said construction workers should boycott the shop over the rule.


“They should literally vote with their feet if their feet aren’t welcome,” she said.

“I’ve seen people who are very well dressed get up and leave the place in an absolute state – far worse than a bit of muck on the floor.

I just feel like they’ve missed the mark here. They could have addressed it differently. They could have had boot cleaners outside the shop so people could clean their boots on the way in and they could have had complimentary wipes,

“I just think to say you’re good enough to come in and spend your money, but we don’t want you to stay here because you’re bringing the place down Is highly insulting.”

She said the shop could have looked at ways of addressing the issue of mucky boots and workwear while ensuring all customers still feel welcome.

“None of us are better than the other,” she said. “We’re all the same and I just think you should treat everybody with some dignity and respect.

“To target a certain audience that’s coming into your premises and say, come in and spend but get out is wrong. It’s not right.”

On the other hand, construction safety consultant Sean said he had no issue with the rule whatsoever.

He said industry bodies such as the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) have been calling on companies to stop workers leaving site in full PPE for years.

“Your average construction worker is dealing with glues, silicones, silica dust and hazardous materials which are on to their clothes and being transferred onto seating in the restaurants and the seats,” he said.

“In our canteens on site, we have specialist teams in once a week cleaning down the surfaces … so I absolutely see the Fresh point of view on this and absolutely agree with it.

“It’s not an awful lot of effort. Most of the decent sites at the moment have cubby holes where guys can leave their workwear when they go out on breakfast and lunch and most guys take advantage of that.”

Health and safety

He went on to note that workers don’t go home and sit on their own furniture in full workwear.

“If I walked into the house covered in paint or plaster, my missus would kill me if I sat down on the sofa,” he said.

“We need to be showing that same respect when we go into shops – whether that be using the toilet and cleaning up after ourselves or the clothing we wear in.

“It is nothing against construction workers. It is against dirt and trying to keep a clean environment where people are eating food.”


In a statement, Fresh said it never meant to suggest there was a ban on construction workers eating in-store.

“As with all our customers, constructions workers are always welcome in our stores,” it said. “The sign at the time referred to workwear and tools only in the seating area.”

It said the rule was based on health and safety.

“Our experience in other stores, when we opened while major construction work was taking place, was the risk of serious trip hazards from tools, workwear and other equipment being left on the floor of the seating areas,” it said.

“If anyone took offence to our endeavours, we sincerely apologise.”

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