Health and safety in hairdressing: what to remember

November 19, 2020

Last updated: September 16, 2022

While hairdressing is not an obviously dangerous occupation, certain health and safety precautions must be taken to minimise the chance of any accidents or injuries. As a hairstylist, you’re exposed to several hazards because of the kind of work you do, the tools you use and the environment you work in.

A personal injury claim from a client can be costly and very damaging to your reputation as a hairdresser. That’s one of the reasons why having specialist Hairdressing Insurance is so important – to cover you against expensive Public Liability claims and protect your business. Here, we discuss health and safety in hairdressing and the risks you need to be aware of.

Hazards and risks in hairdressing

As a hairdresser, you’re likely to handle water, chemicals, electrical appliances, blades and cutting instruments. With this in mind, there are several health and safety risks to consider, including:

Chemical hazards

You’ll use products that contain various chemicals in your daily work. Hair dyes, peroxide and bleaches, permanent wave solutions, and straightening creams can all be dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Being exposed to these chemicals daily could lead to more serious side effects which can cause damage to the immune, reproductive, neurological and respiratory systems.

Slip and fall hazards

Slips and falls can occur when you least expect them to, and are a common reason to claim on insurance 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.

Body strain

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

Electrical shock and fire

Blow dryers, straighteners, and other tools all require electricity, and are often near water in a salon. If not handled safely, you run the risk of electric shocks or burns 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

You will use tools such as scissors and razors regularly, which can cause injuries when not handled correctly. Working with sharp instruments is always a prerequisite for cuts and grazes not only to staff but also to clients. This comes with the risk of possible blood transmission from one person to another.

Moving furniture or heavy lifting

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


Excessive pressure at work can be harmful to your mental wellbeing and leave you feeling stressed. 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. You can recognise work stress affecting your mental wellbeing from different symptoms, ranging from sleepless nights to low mood and weight loss.

Get the peace of mind you deserve with Hairdressing Insurance

While a hair salon may not have the same high level of risk as a construction site, there are still plenty of dangers that can cause serious injury. 

If you’re a self-employed, freelance or mobile hairdresser, our Hairdressing Insurance has you covered. Get a quote today.

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