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Industry Spotlight: Beauty Salons and Barber Shops

Jan 29, 2016

Beauty salon and barber shop employees face unique on-the-job injury risks ranging from frequent chemical exposure, and wet or slippery floors, to the routine handling of sharp instruments. To keep employees healthy and safe, it is important for business owners to develop a culture of workplace​ safety and to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage in the event someone gets hurt or sick on the job.

Here are five common risks beauty salon and barber shop owners should pay particularly close attention to:

  1. Slips, trips and falls. According to the Occupational Safe​ty and Health Administration (OSHA), slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. In a busy salon, floors can be slippery from spilled hair products, splashed water and un-swept hair clippings. Employees should be encouraged to wipe up spills immediately and sweep up around workstations after finishing with each client. Anti-skid mats next to shampoo stations can make floors less slippery and employees should be encouraged to wear closed-toe, anti-skid footwear.
  2. Sharp objects. Barbers and stylists work with scissors and razors, potentially putting them at risk for cuts and puncture wounds. Establish clear safety rules for handling these tools, including proper cleaning and disposal procedures.
  3. Electrical hazards. Hot curling irons and straighteners, tangled cords, and overloaded electrical outlets can put workers at risk for burns or electrocution. Make sure employees turn off all hot tools when they are not in use, and that an appropriate number of devices are plugged into each outlet. Hair dryers, curling irons, and other electric appliances should be replaced immediately when their cords show signs of fraying or other damage.
  4. Chemical exposure. Certain hair products, like texturizers, permanent solutions, straighteners and dyes, can contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful after repeated exposure. Encourage workers who use these substances to wear protective masks, gloves, and aprons, and to follow the specific handling instructions on the product packaging. Check out the ​OSHA​ website for additional regulatory information specific to safe chemical handling for the hair care industry.
  5. Crowded workplace. Beauty salons and barber shops can quickly become congested, especially in smaller shops. Keep aisles and entries cleared of debris and packaging, and make sure all doors are clearly accessible.

In addition to paying close attention to these potential safety hazards, another risk salon and barber shop owners face is not having adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage in the event of an employee injury or illness. Business owners can find out if they are properly covered by consulting an ​insurance agent or carrier with experience in their state as well as the salon and barber shop industry.

Creating a safe workplace environment and investing in the health and safety of employees is more than altruism, it is a smart business strategy. 

For more information, please contact Patrick Kim, Workers' Compensation Specialist - 925.296.5478.

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