When it comes to our daily jobs, some of us face more risks than others. For some, it could be as simple as tripping over a wire. For others, it can be heavy machinery and fall hazards. For Hairdressers, however, the risks are unique and can often be avoided with proper training, risk assessments and client communication.
Even with all the preparation in the world, however, accidents can still happen and it’s important to understand what risks you could face at work if you are a hairdresser, so you can better prepare. From strains and cuts to slips and client complaints, here are some of the risks hairdressers face at work.
1 – Strains
When you spend all day cutting and brushing your clients’ hair, it’s easy to develop strains and repetitive injuries. Standing for long hours can also cause issues, so it’s important to ensure you have the right equipment to reduce these risks. Some of the best ways you can improve the ergonomics of your salon to help reduce strain include:
- Adjustable height for equipment such as tables and client chairs
- Adjustable stools for sitting while working
- Key equipment is within easy reach (e.g. hairdryers, curling tongs)
- Rotate tasks such as hair washing to avoid one staff member repeating strain-inducing activities
- Encourage staff to buy ergonomic tools such as scissors and combs
2 – Slips and Trips
Spilt chemicals, water, hair and wires all pose slip and trip risks for both you and your customers. Making sure that you keep on top of clearing up and that any equipment wires are kept out of the way is vital. Keep all key walkways clear and the space around each workstation as neat as possible, offering wire organisation for tools that require plugging in.
It’s also crucial that all staff members keep on top of the cleanliness of their area, whether that’s sweeping up hair themselves or ensuring that the relevant staff member knows that it needs to be dealt with. If a client or a member of the public were to slip or trip over your equipment or spill on the floor and were injured as a result, they could claim against you for injury. Public Liability Insurance for Hairdressers will help protect you and your business in these cases.
3 – Burns
When using hot hair tools, there is always a risk of burning you or your client if you don’t handle the tools correctly. There are various things you can do to protect yourself and your client, including using a heat protective glove and ensuring your staff have the proper training for the safe use of the tools on clients. With these, as well as due care and diligence, you can reduce the risk of burns.
4 – Client Complaints
If your client doesn’t like their haircut at the end or it isn’t what they were looking for, they could make a complaint. This could even lead to a claim depending on the situation, so insurance is important. Public Liability Insurance may be adequate in some cases, but professional indemnity can also protect your business if the claims made suggest that you are misusing your expertise or have provided incorrect advice or information.
5 – Cuts and Grazes
When using scissors and razors, the occasional cut or graze can be inevitable, but when the victim is your client, it could lead to a claim made against you. Public Liability Insurance can help protect your business in these cases too, however, you should always take care to reduce the risk as much as possible. Keeping on top of training and refresher courses, safety measures and techniques where needed and possible and risk assessments for all tools and equipment could help you reduce the risk further.
6 – Chemical Use
When using chemicals like bleach and other hair products, you risk adverse reactions and burns. Doing tests such as patch tests in advance of an appointment can help avoid any severe accidents or reactions. By doing a patch test, for example, you can determine whether a new client will be okay with the products you use, or whether alternatives may be necessary. Doing this on a small area will ensure that there are no major adverse reactions if you were to go straight into the treatment.