Beauty salon legislation and regulations
Looking to polish-up your knowledge on beauty salon health and safety? Or maybe you need to wax away your uncertainty on insurance, licenses and training – here’s all you need to know to make your salon legislation compliant
Worrying that health and safety red tape will dip-dye your beauty salon business dreams away? Or maybe you just need a filed-down version of health and safety legislation for your beauty salon.
Caring for both your clients and your staff is ultra important: ensuring you’re on the right side of the law and running a successful, reputable business that’s great for service and for safety.
Read on to make your knowledge on legislation and regulations shellac-solid. And we’ll be brushing-up on health and safety, so there are no split ends when you’re running the day-to-day.
This article will cover:
- 01 | Health and safety with beauty products
- 02 | Health and safety with salon equipment
- 03 | First aid
- 04 | Should I outsource my health and safety needs?
- 05 | Additional regulations checklist
Quick side note before we start: when running a business, it's crucial to have a good handle on the ‘people' side of things – health and safety, hiring and firing, or in other words: Human Resources. Take a look at our comprehensive “What is HR” page to make sure you've not missed anything.
Or, if you're at the very exciting stage of starting your own salon business, take a look at our comprehensive guide on how to start a beauty salon.
Health and safety with beauty products
While any business in a public premises needs to minimise health hazards – such as exposed wires, trippable rugs and wet floors – risk of personal injury is particularly rife when it comes to beauty and spa treatments, due to the products, equipment and tools used on clients’ bodies. So, health and safety in a beauty salon is of paramount importance.
To avoid the risks posed by the use of beauty products, make a list of all of the products you’ll use in the salon and obtain hazard sheets from their manufacturers.
Some will contain harmful substances that can cause skin and respiratory problems, so it’s essential that you assess their safety. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Essentials will help with this. They have specific health and safety guides for hairdressers, manicurists, and piercing and micropigmentation (such as microblading) specialists.
Or, as Leah Durrant, founder of Beauty Re:Treat advises:
“Call your local council, as each county is different. They will send a health and safety officer to do a check for you.”
Here are some of the key things to keep in mind when working with potentially harmful chemicals:
✓Provide the right protection, i.e: powder-free, vinyl gloves gloves that are at least 300mm long
✓Ensure clean, running water is near to any part of your business that handles chemicals
✓ Check that containers are easy to pour from
✓ Buy products in a ready-for-use solution where possible
✓ For solid chemicals, see if they come in tablet form, or in a wide-necked container so that it is easy to scoop out granules
✓ Store products securely in a cool, dry, dark place that will keep any possible spills to a minimum
✓ Read the instructions on the label carefully and follow the instructions for use
✓ Keep products off your skin – wash off any splashes immediately
✓ Make-up only as much solution as needed for immediate use
✓ Write down your procedures for dealing with clinical waste
✓Solvent-based products may produce harmful vapours, provide masks where necessary
✓Avoid contact with blood and tissue residues to prevent the spread of infection
✓ Check that all controls are being used properly
✓Consider substituting chemicals with safer products
✓If dealing with clinical waste, you will need a licensed waste contractor
Manicurists: ‘dust masks’ are not acceptable as a stand alone control for harmful odours. To control chemical odours, provide an extractor hood or a downdraught table providing a draught of at least 1 metre. Alternatively, you’ll need an inlet air speed around 0.5 metres per second that goes into an extractor hood attached to the table.
The client’s nails must be over the downdraught or close to the hood to keep both the manicurist and the client safe from potentially harmful fumes.
Health and safety with salon equipment
You’ll need to check all of the equipment and tools that you use in your salon, thoroughly reading any information that has come with them to ensure you’re using them safely and hygienically.
If you have a shower or an automatic spray tan booth on your premises, you’ll also need to consider the risk of legionella bacteria from water systems and ensure everything is kept clean.
Plus, if you’re looking to offer treatments involving intense pulsed light systems or lasers in England, you must register with the Care Quality Commission.
Elsewhere in the UK, the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Care Commission, and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety are bodies that can help clarify what’s legally required for the safe running of a beauty salon.
Salon equipment health and safety checklist:
✓Use sterile single-use instruments wherever possible
✓Sterilise all reusable equipment that can be contaminated with blood, including semi-permanent tattooing equipment – note: ultraviolet (UV) light boxes and glass bead sterilisers are not good enough (To find a steriliser, either negotiate access to a steriliser in your local hospital or clinic, or use a steam steriliser.)
✓Blood contamination means that swabs and gloves are clinical waste. Put these in a clinical waste container
✓ Follow the instructions in maintenance manuals – keep equipment in effective and efficient working order
✓ Steam sterilisers require regular examinations and tests. Seek advice from your insurance provider and make a note of each time your equipment is examined
✓ Keep the work area clean
✓ Wash out mixing equipment after use. Dispose of this waste liquid safely
✓ Write down your sterilisation procedures and make sure these are followed
✓ Sterilise reusable equipment as soon as possible after use
✓ Clean out ultrasonicators at the end of every day
✓ Disinfect shower heads at least once a week
You’ll also need a first aid kit on-site, and an accident book that means staff are able to record any work-based accidents.
This does not make you completely liable for all accidents in the workplace – if a hairdresser on your team catches themselves with a pair of scissors, they are responsible for this accident, but it must be recorded so that you are able to see if this is a recurring incident, and so you know what first aid supplies need to be kept in, and re-stocked, at all times.
However, if a member of staff is injured due to the environment in which they work, like tripping over exposed wiring or getting a shock from a faulty electrical device, then you are responsible for this and will be open to legal action and a hefty fine.
To avoid this circumstance, it’s best practice to consult a health and safety professional who can carry out an audit of your premises. Or, employ someone able to be trained to make this assessment in-house.
First aid training for staff is a must. Everyone in your business needs to know how to keep both themselves and their clients safe, plus what to do should an accident or incident occur.
Institutions like The Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance or The British Heart Foundation will offer the basics in workplace first aid training. Getting your staff trained will give you team the confidence to deal with any minor medical incidents encountered at work.
If you’re looking for a tailor-made first aid course for your business, then there are lots of companies who can offer a bespoke training plan – ready to teach your staff how to prevent accidents and administer first aid if you need. A specific first aid training company will also provide your salon with certification and accreditation– proving to your customers that you’re a safe salon with a fully first-aid trained team.
To be put in touch with the right first aid professional, simply fill in the form at the top of the page, and we’ll provide you with a quote from the most reputable and suitable suppliers, helping you to make the right choice by putting safety first.
Should I outsource my health and safety needs?
Outsourcing health and safety reduces the risk of hurting your business both legally and financially from not operating within health and safety law.
In order to be compliant with the Health and Safety Act 1974, there must be a nominated person who ensures that your company is fully and consistently compliant with all health and safety rules – this member of staff is known as the ‘competent’ employee.
However, to hire, train and retain a member of staff whose sole responsibility is to ensure the health and safety compliance of your business is both costly and inefficient.
Instead, it’s possible to pay a one-off fee to a health and safety agency able to offer a bespoke service, tailored to your business needs and ensures that the entire operation is working within the lines of the law at all times. So you don’t have to burden your staff with the hassle of compliance, as the competent person required, by law, to be associated with your business, can be outsourced rather than in-house.
And, if you’re worried that this is going to cost more than your start-up salon can afford, don’t worry because companies such as SAS offer an outsourced health and safety service at an annual fee of as little as £295.00.
Outsourcing H&S will grant your business an annual health and safety advisory service including 24/7 telephone access to your advisor and email support – providing peace of mind and making sure you’re always operating on the right side of the law.
Some outsourced health and safety services also offer training and staff support opportunities. Should your business decide that it’s time to train someone up to take on the task in-house, companies such as Arinite will help you transition from a company that outsources health and safety, to one that has a registered professional on the premises at all times.
If you’d like to be put in touch with companies ready to guide you through the health and safety process, and create an individualised plan for your beauty salon or spa, than fill in the form at the top of the page, and we’ll find some quotes from suitable service providers today.
Pros and cons of outsourcing health and safety:
- Audits will provide a thorough review of your business’ compliance to H&S regulations, and let you know which areas of your health and safety need to be improved upon to keep your staff happy and healthy and your business legally complaint.
- Avoid fines and reputational damage by knowing that your health and safety regulations are in the hands of a professional who will always be up-to-date and in-the-know when it comes to any shifts or subtle change in H&S laws or regulations.
- Provide necessary health and safety training. Employers are required to ensure all employees have the skills to carry out their roles safely and responsibly.
- A specialist health and safety consultancy will be able to offer bespoke training courses, covering a selection of specific topics to ensure legal requirements are met and allowing your staff to take a measure of responsibility for their own health and safety in the workplace.
- Bringing in someone external to assess your health and safety can pose a risk to sensitive information and data on both clients and employees. When a H&S survey is underway, it’ll be imperative that you do not leave any customer or employee information lying around as this could mean a serious breach of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations).
- The beauty of owning your own business is that you can be your own boss. But, when you outsource your H&S, you relinquish a certain amount of control when it comes to your day-to-day operations. For this reason, you might be more comfortable training an already trusted and responsible employee to become your competent employee.
Additional regulations checklist
Beauty salon qualifications and training:
If you’re going to be performing salon treatments yourself, being qualified is a must. And, as the head of the salon, it’s worth training up to NVQ Level 4 or an equivalent so you know as much as possible about your treatments and are regarded as an authority in performing them.
The range of beauty qualifications available is dizzying. As well as NVQs, you can earn:
- City & Guilds
- SVQs (Scottish Vocational Qualifications)
- Vocational Training and Charitable Trust (VTCT) certificates
- BTEC HNDs
- Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (CIBTAC) qualifications
- Comite International d’Estethique et de Cosmetologie (CIDESCO) qualifications
- ITEC and Edexcel qualifications
NB: You should be aware that training from a product company won’t result in a recognised qualification.
You might also find that management training – which will help you to effectively run the business and your team – is useful if you’ve no prior experience in business or management.
Your local colleges or universities may offer courses in beauty therapy and spa treatments which you can study on a part or full-time basis, or you could look to train at a private beauty school.
Here’s what you can do to make your beauty business is regulations-complaint and completely legal:
1. Obtain Licenses
First of all, you’ll need to register your salon or spa, and apply for a premises license, with your local authority or council. A premises license will enable you to legally run a salon and perform beauty treatments in the property you’ve chosen.
It’s important that you’re licensed to carry out each of your treatments, and it may be that your premises license does cover all of them – for example, massage and special treatment premises licensing enables you to perform manicures, chiropody, light treatments and more – but you might find you need additional licenses to legally perform others.
So, be sure to thoroughly check the spa license requirements for the specific treatments you offer licenses with your local authority (each region/county is different). If you want to go into this conversation prepared, check the government’s online license finder for an overview of what you’ll be needing.
On a different note, if you’re planning to play sound recordings in your salon – whether relaxing panpipes, crashing waves or the UK Top 40 – you’ll also need a licence from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL).
You should also consider whether you’ll be serving any alcoholic refreshments. Alcohol is a heavily regulated substance which, as a business, you can’t offer without the right licensing. This will include an additional premises license enabling you to serve drinks in your salon.
Rachel Fox, founder of The Beauty & Blow Dry Studio shared her experience in additional license needed when it comes to the boozy bonus that comes with paying her salon a visit:
“We offer complimentary prosecco, so I needed to pass an exam to gain my alcohol licence so I could then go on to apply for a premises licence. It was a costly process but totally worth it, as we know we’re doing everything correctly and by the book.”
2. Get insured
When it comes to running a beauty salon, being covered by the right insurance policies is crucial in case you, your staff or your salon are subject to a claim for compensation – whether over an incomplete or unsatisfactory treatment or an accident a customer has had on your premises.
As standard, your self-employed beauty therapist insurance needs will include:
- Public liability insurance
- Products liability insurance (particularly if you’re selling beauty products at your salon)
- Employer’s liability insurance (this is a legal requirement if you hire staff)
- Treatment liability insurance
It’s worth looking into specialist salon, spa or beauty insurance providers, like Salon Gold, which can set you up with all of these plus plenty more in one package.
You can find an in-depth summary of the insurance you’ll need as a beauty therapist here.
3. Set up business accountancy
In order to accept customers’ payments a business, you’ll need a business banking account and a merchant account – which is a must for accepting credit and debit card payments due to the process these payments follow:
- A customer makes payment with their credit or debit card. The money goes into your merchant account
- The customer’s bank approves or declines the payment
- If approved, the payment then transfers into your business bank account
You can compare the best merchant account providers for your salon or spa using Startups’ free comparison tool at the top of this page.
You’ll also need to ensure you can manage your bookkeeping, cashflow and inventory.
It’s worth looking into software that can help you do this smoothly or, better still, employing an accountant. While you will have to pay them, you’ll also avoid the risk of making costly errors with your finances or wasting hours of your time grappling with numbers.
Being the boss of your own beauty salon means taking on the responsibility for both your staff and your clients’ health and safety.
There are lots of aspects to making sure that your salon is as safe and hygienic as possible, and constantly ensuring you’re up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations can be time consuming and perhaps, beyond what you’ve been trained for.
That’s why outsourcing health and safety advice and training is such a popular option. For more information on how you can access further training, or to speak to a health and safety professional, fill in the form at the top of this page, and we’ll put you in touch with the right person for the task.