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Health and safety

Hairdressers and salons

There are a number of hazards which may occur in hairdressers and beauty salons 


A wide variety of chemicals are used in hairdressers such as hair colours, bleaches and perm solutions. Many of these can be hazardous if not used correctly. It is therefore essential that you assess all new products prior to use, and that staff are provided with manufacturer’s instructions. Any chemicals displaying the orange and black warning on the label are likely to be particularly hazardous and extra care should be exercised in their use. 

The regular use of chemicals and aerosols can cause dermatitis and respiratory problems. This can be minimised by using disposable gloves, barrier creams and good ventilation. 

You must maintain a written risk assessment for all hazardous chemicals used,  and this should be updated as necessary.  

Electrical safety

Electrical equipment in hairdressers is subject to heavy use,  and it is essential that there is a proper maintenance procedure in place.

Areas to check include the wear to the flex, particularly where it enters the case. As equipment is used in moist environments, there is a greater risk of electric shock. Where defects are noted, the equipment should be either repaired or disposed of immediately. 

It is strongly recommended that all electrical socket outlets are protected with a residual current device (RCD) which will minimise the risk of shock.

Electrical inspections and testing should be recorded. It is good practice to label equipment with the test date, result and next test due date. 

Slips, trips and falls  

Poor floor surfaces, moisture, chemicals, trailing wires or hair on the floor can result in a serious fall. Floors should be kept as clear as possible from obstruction or moisture and be well maintained. 

General hygiene

You must ensure that all instruments are cleaned and sterilised regularly. Sterilisation can occur in a number of ways, but ultra violet cabinets are not capable of sterilising properly.

Beauty treatments

If you carry out acupuncture, ear/body piercings, electrolysis, tattooing or semi-permanent skin colouring, you need a licence:

 Apply for a licence

Registration is required to ensure that operators meet the relevant cleanliness, hygiene and health and safety standards. Both the premises and all persons providing the treatments need to be licensed.

UV tanning equipment 

The use of any ultraviolet (UV) tanning equipment exposes users to UV radiation. Health risks associated with using UV tanning equipment  include sunburnt skin, dryness and itching skin, rashes and eye irritation/ conjunctivitis, premature skin ageing, skin cancer and cataracts. You can reduce these risks by following HSE guidelines:

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