Most common health and safety hazards for hairdressers

When you think of dangerous professions hairdressing is probably not the first that comes to your mind. You’ve might thought of an aircraft pilot, flight engineer or may be a fisherman. Hairdressing is not an obviously dangerous occupation. Yet stylists use a variety of chemicals and are exposed to different injuries related not only to their daily tasks, but also to the tools they use and the environment they work in.

A personal injury claim from a client can be costly and very damaging to the reputation of a hairdresser. Taking out Hairdressing Insurance could cover you against expensive Public Liability claims and protect your business.

Hairdressers normally handle water, chemicals, electrical appliances, blades and cutting instruments. Dermatitis, asthma, an eye or throat irritation, arthritis and even cancer are some of the risks that stylists face during their career. Besides, they are in close contact with members of the public. There are lots of health and safety hazards to consider in a hair salon or barbershop, so let’s look at the main risks:

Chemical hazards

Hairdressers use products that contain all sorts of chemicals in their daily work. Hair dyes, peroxide and bleaches, permanent wave solutions, straightening creams can all be dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Being exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis could lead to more serious side effects which cause damage to the immune, reproductive, neurological and respiratory systems. 

Slip and fall hazards

Slips and falls can occur in numerous ways and are source of insurance claims at salons and barbershops. Hairdressing floors present ideal ground for a variety of dangers. Clipped hair, product spills and wet surfaces can become a slip hazard while loose cords on the floor from electrical tools, such as straighteners, blow dryers and curling irons can become a trip hazard.

Working in awkward postures and performing repetitive tasks

Standing on your feet all day can place the body under unnatural one-sided strain, with your feet and back taking the most pressure. There are several health-related problems that hairdressing work can cause, such as venous disorders and varicose veins. Stylists perform constant actions with their hands and wrists while cutting hair and repetitive stress injuries are another potential hazard of the trade.

Electrical shock and fire

Hair salons are a dangerous mix of water and electricity when it comes to using the styling appliances. Blow dryers, straighteners and other tools all require electricity, often near water. Staff could get electrical shocks or burns, and there is a fire hazard, from using wet or faulty electrical equipment. It is very important to inspect all cords and plugs frequently and keep a maintenance log for all electrical appliances.

Blades and sharp instruments

Hairdresser’s most frequently used tools such as scissors and razors can cause injuries when not handled correctly or if they are placed carelessly. Working with sharp instruments is always a prerequisite for cuts and grazes not only to the staff, but also the clients. Together with this comes the risk of possible blood transmission from one person to another; risk of blood-borne infections.

Moving furniture or heavy lifting

Hairdressers may suffer unintentional accidents, including musculoskeletal injuries from heavy lifting or moving furniture in the salon. It can put severe stress on back muscles leading to extreme pain and discomfort. So, when the next delivery with salon supplies arrives it’s probably worth being cautious and consider the health risks associated with lifting those heavy boxes.


Despite stress often being classified as a state, rather than illness, excessive pressure at work can be harmful and destructive to health. The causes of stress in a hair salon can be varied: overwork and long hours, poor management, or something more serious such as bullying or harassment by other staff or clients. Hairdressers can recognize stress from different physical symptoms, ranging from sleepless nights and panic attacks to depression, moodiness, and weight loss.

A hair salon might not have the same high level of risk as a construction site or an offshore oil rig, but there are still plenty of dangers that can cause serious injury or even death. By taking out hairdressing insurance and following strictly safety procedures in the workplace the above side effects, injuries and accidents could be reduced to a minimum. Please check our new blog next month on how to avoid these hazards and stay safe and healthy in the hair salon.



About Protectivity

Protectivity is a specialist in niche commercial, leisure and lifestyle insurance. We offer a range of products including hairdressers insurance and barber insurance.

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