How dangerous is hairdressing?
The short answer is that relative to most jobs, hairdressing falls slightly above an office worker in terms of risk.Office workers are considered to be the safest category for work insurance.
Interestingly mobile beauticians are classified as non-insurable up there with soldiers, fishermen, jockeys and divers to name just a few.
So, you don’t need to do anything?
That is where many salon owners might need to rethink that view a little.
No job is totally safe and there are risks in anything but of more importance is that ignorance by employers, is not an excuse in the eyes of the courts if something does happen. In Australia each state has its own Work Health & Safety Act. They are all harmonised between each state, with the exception of Victoria, meaning they are almost the same.
Each state in Australia, including Victoria requires a person in the business to be nominated as the PCBU. This is usually the business owner or CEO.
What on earth is a PCBU?
A PCBU stands for, Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking. The legislation sets out your responsibilities as an owner or CEO and you are expected to know them.
At the simplest level it means you must ensure that the workplace is a safe environment for all employees and that you have policies and processes to ensure it is.
You need to document your consultation with employees and put in place practical processes and procedures for a safe work place. There are the usual things to consider eg, slips, trips and falls, minor burns from hair appliances, electrical safety, First Aid kit on premises etc.
Equally important and often not considered are other matters such as:
- Assessing risk - a salon owner in Adelaide in 2016 received third degree burns to 60% of his body when he accidentally dropped a 20litre container of methylated spirits he was decanting in his salon. The highly flammable liquid ignited after coming into contact with an electrical power point. Don’t even think of the consequences and or the emotional stressif it had happened to an employee
- Hearing loss from repetitive exposure to noisy appliances. Power tools/appliances emitting 85db are now deemed capable of causing hearing loss
- Repetitive strain injuries a common problem in the industry
- Stress claims
- Workplace bullying – 9.4% of Australian workers indicate they have been bullied at work in the last 6 months. The average cost to business is $22,600.00. it is not something to easily ignore.
- Near miss an incident recording. It is a requirement of the WHS Act to record near miss incidents
- First Aid training.
There is no legal obligation to render first aid to a client but there is a legal obligation to render first aid to a worker. The law also says you need to have one first aid worker for every 25 employees. You could in theory organise for the shopkeeper next door who is first aid trained to help out but if they go home at 5:30pm and you are working to 9:00pm, you are not compliant. Morally to have someone on staff to provide first aid to employees and clients is the way to go. In Germany everyone who holds a driver’s licence must have a first aid certificate, which makes sense in protecting us all.
Do you just carry on as you are and hope like most of us, that it won’t happen to me? Or do I take some simple practical steps?
Nebula Salon Manager provides:
- Work Health Safety Policies and Procedure templates, you can adapt for your business.
- Internal and Safework Incident Reporting Tools that guide you through what you need to do.
- Site Safety Audit Tool to conduct a safety audit.
- A Safety Meetings Tool to document safety meetings.
- Nebula maintains a Safety Data Sheets library for all the chemicals you use in your salon.
- Safety Videos.
- Building Asbestos Register and more.
WHS doesn’t have to be something to ignore and hope it doesn’t happen to you and your business. Take a look at www.salonmanager.com.au or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0497 002 124 to arrange a demonstration and trial.