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Workplace Safety: How to Avoid Injury in The Salon

May 06, 2019

Sure hairdressing scissors are sharp and they can cut fingers if you’re not careful. But what other dangers are lurking in a salon that you may not have thought of?
A hairdressing salon might not have the same high level of risk as some workplaces but there are still plenty of dangers that can cause serious injury or even death.

What Are the Health & Safety Concerns in a Hairdressing Salon?

Below are the most common risks that occur in salons right around the country.

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)

The injuries that impact hairdressers relate to the repetitive movements involved in cutting hair. The constant action of the hand and wrist can cause pain and injury. 

Tendons can become irritated and inflamed by constant movement or prolonged awkward posture. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common affliction amongst hairdressers caused by pressure on the nerves in the wrist causing pain, numbness and pins and needles.   

How to Avoid: Choose Ergonomically Designed Scissor

To avoid RSI, choose scissors or shears with an offset handle. The angle allows the hand to drop into a natural position and prevents awkward hand movements that can put pressure on your shoulder, neck and hands. 

Swivel scissors can also reduce the risk of RSI because they allow your thumb to rotate into natural positions that will keep your hands comfortable in various holds all day long. Check out our wide range of cutters such asthinner scissors that have a swivel handle.

Foot & Leg Injuries

While we’re not suggesting you need to upgrade to steel cap boots when you go to work in the salon, refrain from wearing thongs, sandals or heels while hairdressing. 

There’s the obvious risk of a foot injury if you drop your sharp scissors on exposed feet but you can also suffer a chemical burn from a spill. 

Many hair stylists spend the bulk of the day on their feet so wearing shoes with good support can reduce leg soreness, fatigue and the incidence of varicose veins. 

How to Avoid: Buy Good Quality Shoes

As good as you look in stilettos, save them for going out Saturday night. When you’re shopping for work shoes, look for a pair with a comfortable sole that can provide good support for your feet and legs. If you’re experiencing any foot pain, make an appointment to see your doctor or a podiatrist before the problem gets worse.

 

Burns

There are multiple burn risks in hairdressing salons. Some of the chemicals used on hair can irritate the skin particularly if you are being exposed regularly. 

Anyone who has used curling or straightening tongs will know how hot they get. According to GHD Australia, the optimal temperature for styling hair is 185 degrees Celsius, the temperature of a moderate oven! You only need to brush the iron with your hand to be burnt.  

Salons serve hot cups of coffee and tea throughout the day to clients. They’re left on the bench and if knocked over, can scold a hairdresser or client.  

How to Avoid: Wear Gloves

Whenever you’re using chemicals, don’t forget to glove up and protect your hands. When using curling and straightening appliances, wear a heat resistant glove or take extra care not to touch the hot surface.

Beware of scalding drinks and if needed shift them before you plug in an appliance as cords can easily knock a cup off the bench. 

Electrical Shock

Talking about appliances, hair salons are a dangerous mix of water and electricity. Blow dryers and other styling tools all require electricity, often near water. 

How to Avoid: Keep Some Distance Between Water & Electricity

Always keep electrical appliances well away from the basin area. If you notice a puddle of water on the floor or bench-top, mop it up immediately. 

Styling tools in a salon are in constant use so check them regularly for any broken parts or damaged cords. If you see any damage, remove the appliance so no one else can use it and arrange for a repair or disposal to avoid an electrical shock.

Poor Air Quality

Using chemical liquids and sprays in a salon reduces air quality. Without a good air conditioning system, stylists are breathing in the fumes and smells all day which can impact their overall health. 

How to Avoid: Good Air Circulation

Fortunately, most salons need air conditioners to counteract the heat generated from the blow dryers. If you are using chemicals make sure the air conditioner is on and, if possible, open any windows for more fresh air.

During your breaks, step outside the salon environment for a rest from the chemicals and odours.

Transmission of Disease

Hairdressers are some of the most vulnerable workers when it comes to infectious diseases. Because of the close contact stylists have with people and the high number of people they touch each day makes them at risk of contracting an illness or disease. Other at-risk occupations wear personal protective equipment, so hairdressers should be vigilant.

Hairdressers are at risk of contracting herpes, Hepatitis C, influenza, the common cold and other coronaviruses from clients while cutting and styling their hair.   

How to Avoid: Sterilisation & Talking to Clients

If a client arrives at the salon with obvious symptoms of a cold or flu, ask if they are feeling unwell and if it’s anything more than an allergy, ask them come back another time. 

Take extra care to avoid touching any sores or injuries a client may have. Wear gloves if there is a risk you may touch the area. 

Be extra careful about properly sterilising tools after treating a client who may have an infectious condition and wash your hands thoroughly. It’s imperative you protect your health and that of future clients.

Trips and Slips

One of the primary causes of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace is trips and slips. A box of products, a stool, cut hair, handbags or a puddle of water are all common items on salon floors. 

It’s easy to trip or slip over causing broken bones or soft tissue injuries. Both salon staff and clients are at risk.   

How to Avoid: Keep an Eye Out for Risks

If you see a hazard, fix it immediately before anyone is hurt. Throughout the day, look around the salon to ensure walkways are clear of any trip hazards and you mop up any liquids. The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has excellent information on slip and trip prevention in workplaces.   

When managers maintain a healthy, safe salon environment staff feel valued and happy to come to work knowing their health is a high priority.

Keep Up to Date with Safety Procedures

Safety procedures are important to have in the workplace. To avoid accidents and quickly treat any injuries, ensure that all staff members of the salon are trained in following the appropriate safety procedures. A good tip is to have your safety procedures displayed in a place where all staff can see daily to remind them.




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