Workplace Safety in Beauty Salons

Salon Safety: Tips to Keep Workers Healthy and Safe

People visit hair and nail salons to look and feel better, treating themselves to pampering while unaware of the risks all around them. Beauty aside, salons can be dangerous for both customers and workers if salon owners and workers do not employ the right hygiene, sanitation and safety practices. In fact, safety precautions in a beauty salon are just as important as they are in a doctor’s office.

Beauty salon employees face unique on-the-job injury risks ranging from frequent chemical exposure, wet or slippery floors, and routine handling of sharp instruments. To keep employees healthy and safe, business owners need to know and respect salon regulations for health and safety and have workers’ compensation insurance coverage in the event someone gets hurt or sick on the job. Common beauty salon issues:

Every state has its own rules about disinfection practices, so owners and employees should consult their state cosmetology board for local regulations.

Formaldehyde is a particular exposure risk in salons due to its presence in a variety of hair products. Among its many health regulations for salons, OSHA has a comprehensive guide to protecting salon workers and clients from formaldehyde exposure.

While nail salons house similar risks and hazards as beauty salons, they also present some unique nail salon safety issues. OSHA’s complete guide to nail salon safety offers plenty of tips and warnings, but here are some basics:

Workers should wear gloves and take care to minimize chemical exposure to skin. Like beauty salon workers, OSHA says nail salon workers should wash their hands before and after working on clients; before eating, drinking, applying cosmetics, or smoking; and after handling or transferring products. Proper salon ventilation is also a must, either through an exhaust system, HVAC system, ventilated tables or simply opening up doors and windows. When possible, OSHA recommends using products labelled “acid-free” and “3-free,” meaning they do not contain the “toxic trio” of toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate.

Beauty and nail salons should be places where people relax and enjoy a worry-free beauty experience. Following proper hygiene, sanitation and safety practices will not only make customers happy and be good for business, but it will help keep employees safe and protect salon owners from potential liability issues.

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