Hairdressing health and safety

Hairdressing health and safety


Up to 70% of hairdressers suffer from skin damage.  Keep your hands healthy and wave goodbye to BAD HAND DAYS!  or go to or

Musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are problems affecting the muscles, tendons and ligaments, nerves or other soft tissues and joints.  Whilst MSDs can happen inside or outside the work environment and they are often made worse by work activities.  Our aim is to raise awareness of MSDs and with nearly 40% of MSDs as a result of Upper Limb Disorders (ULD), MSDs, including upper limb disorders, are very common, occurring across all sectors of business and industry.  They are not confined to any one particular groups of workers or industrial activity, but are widespread in the workforce.  Specifically some sectors, which have reported high levels of upper limb pain, include cleaning and domestic staff, hairdressers, warehousing, and retail.  This list is not exhaustive, and there are many other jobs that carry a significant risk or go to

Slips and trips

To tackle slips and and trips successfully in your workplace you need to:-

  • Put in place an effective management system
  • Carry out regular risk assessments
  • Make sure you are aware of the relevant laws and regulations

Simple cost effective measures can reduce these accidents!  or go to

Health and Safety Policy

An employer must provide a Health and Safety policy if they have five or more employees.

However, some hairdressers 'let out' chairs. In these cases, the hairdresser who rents the chair is not an employee - they are simply working at the owner's premises.


This means that the owner could have ten people working within his or her salon, yet have no employees.

In these cases, the Health and Safety at Work Act still imposes a duty on the owner and they must provide a written policy statement. Self employed people have a legal duty not to put other people at risk by the way they work.

An employer must provide a risk assessment. This must be written if the number of employees totals five or more. Further guidance can be found on the Health and Safety Executive's Risk Assessment website

An example of the main type of hazards found in a hairdressers can be:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Fire
  • Electrical Safety
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Aerosols
  • Manual Handling


If you are an employer, are self employed or in control of work premises you have duties under Report of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

You must make a report if one of the following occurs:

  • A death or major injury eg chemical burn to the eye
  • An injury that lasts over three days eg a serious slip of the scissors
  • Disease, e.g., Occupational Dermatitis, or
  • A dangerous occurrence

Many people do not realise that occupational dermatitis is a notifiable disease under RIDDOR. Hairdressers are at risk of getting this as they are exposed to many abrasive chemicals. It is possible, however, to greatly reduce the risk of developing diseases such as this through correct risk assessment and a good Health and Safety policy.

First aid

The minimum you should provide is:

  • A suitably stocked first aid kit, and
  • An 'appointed person'

An appointed person is someone with specific duties relating to first aid, but not necessarily trained in first aid. Everyone at work must be made aware of the first aid arrangements, eg by instruction and notices. Self employed people must also make sure that there are adequate first aid procedures at work.

Minimum contents of a first aid box

Your first aid box must contain:

  • Guidance leaflet
  • 20 individually wrapped, sterile adhesive dressings of various sizes
  • 2 sterile eye pads
  • 4 individually wrapped triangular bandages
  • 6 safety pins
  • 6 medium sized and 2 large individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings, and
  • 1 pair of disposable gloves

Because of the various chemicals used in hairdressers, you must provide more than the required minimum in your first aid box, such as eye washing facilities. You also need more disposable gloves. This is because Aids, HIV and Hepatitis can be transmitted through cuts from sharps.


You must make sure that hair clippings are swept up regularly, as these can be a major factor in the cause of slips.

It is also especially important to ensure you disinfect your scissors and razors, or you use disposable razors. If they are not clean they can cause transmission of diseases.

Hairdressers must be aware of the possible transmission of HIV, Aids and Hepatitis.

To quickly and efficiently disinfect equipment, use:

  • Steam
  • Antibacterial solutions, or
  • Antibacterial wipes

Equipment needs to be treated after each customer and left in an antibacterial solution overnight.


It is important that the salons are well ventilated. This will prevent condensation and the accumulation of fumes. An open window can be effective or you could install an extractor system for the comfort of your clients.

WC facilities

There must be at least one toilet which both staff and customers can use. Ladies and gentlemen can share if there is a secure lock on the door.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

This must be included in the risk assessment. There should not be a problem if:

  • you follow the manufacturer's instructions when using equipment
  • you follow the guidance provided in booklets such as A Guide to Health and Safety in the Salon, and
  • the salon is well ventilated

You must provide protective clothing for both staff and customers. This should include:

  • Gloves
  • Overalls
  • Face screens, and goggles

This will prevent contact with the chemicals.

Chemicals should also be correctly stored:

  • in staff only areas, or
  • in a locked cupboard following the instructions on their containers

You must clear up any spillages immediately.


You do not need a licence to operate as a hairdresser although we do have byelaws for such premises, this is just a case of filling out a registration of hairdressers registration form (PDF 22KB) unless you are planning to carry out a special beauty treatment.

The conditions of the licence can also be found on the form. You should return the form, together with your remittance for the licence, made payable to Walsall Council.

Contact us

Environmental Health
Civic Centre
Darwall Street

Telephone 01922 653010

This page was last updated on 18 July 2016