The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) is the main statute law governing health and safety in the workplace in Great Britain. It outlines your general duties as an employer and provides guidance on health and safety regulations, approved codes of practice, and examples of what constitutes an offence in the workplace.

Hairdressing health and safety training guidance

The act can be a useful point of reference if you want to get a better understanding of the obligations and rights of employers and employees. However, the following guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will help employers, franchisees and self-employed hairdressers comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002), otherwise referred to as COSHH. This is particularly relevant to health and safety legislation in hairdressing.

HSE recommendations to help you develop the appropriate training guidelines:

  • Get the right personal protective equipment – this should include powder-free vinyl gloves which are 300mm long
  • Avoid dusty products and dispose of anything you no longer need.
  • Remember to store products in a dark, dry place and avoid storing more than you need.
  • Read instructions carefully to ensure you use products correctly.
  • Check carefully for information such as ‘can cause allergic reactions’, as you may need to do health surveillance for dermatitis (especially if there is a lot of wet work).
  • Wash out mixing equipment after you use them.
  • Make sure all workers understand the risks of using a product.
  • Always clean up spillages quickly and keep the work area clean.

For a more comprehensive overview of HSE guidance, please look at this COSHH template.

Further guidance for hairdressers

Another good resource for hairdressing health and safety guidance is the National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF), the largest trade association for hairdressing, barbering and beauticians in the UK.

Even if you’re not a member, you can still download the NHF Professional Code of Conduct, which is an excellent framework for hairdressing health and safety policies.

The easy-to-read guide will advise you on the following:

  • Insurance requirements
  • Qualifications, training and licences
  • Health and safety
  • Salon standards
  • Allergy alert testing
  • Age restrictions
  • Advertising
  • Promotion and pricing
  • Pay and tips
  • Complaints
  • Professional pride.

What hairdressers’ insurance will you need?

Our hairdressing insurance package includes professional treatment liability, which can cover you if a client is injured during a treatment or suffers an allergic reaction from a haircare product. It also includes our public liability insurance to protect you from the costs of defending yourself or settling a claim that is going to court. For example, a client may claim compensation after suffering an injury on your premises or if their property is damaged because of your work. We also offer employers’ liability cover, which is a legal requirement if you employ other people. It can protect you from costs such as injury claims or compensation for hairdressing health and safety breaches, although it does not protect you personally.