Every day salons use a range of creams, sprays, and solutions to get the best results with their customers’ hair. A small number of these products are classified as either hazardous, or dangerous.i Such products include acid and alkaline perms, peroxide solutions, and hair dyes and colours containing paraphenylenediamine. These substances are highly regulated in Australia, and anyone who uses them is required to follow certain protocols.
Manufacturers who produce hazardous or dangerous goods are required to label their products with the proper warnings, and to attach a Safety Data Sheet (SDS).ii The SDS contains information about how a product’s chemicals affect health and safety, as well as how to manage such chemicals in the workplace.
As the owner of a hairdressing business, it is your responsibility to ensure that chemicals in the salon are stored, handled, and used according to the product’s SDS.i You should also keep up to date with the most recent information from Safe Work Australia,. and your respective State government authority.
Working with chemicals
When you are working with chemicals in your salon, the first step is to identify whether the product is hazardous or dangerous. You can find this information on the product’s label, or the SDS provided by the manufacturer or supplier.ii
Once you’ve read the SDS, you’d be able to identify which criteria you need to fulfil in order to legally use and store the product in your salon. For example, you may need to conduct a risk assessment, or record the SDS in a particular place.i You’ll also need to check the State regulations that apply to your business, and make sure you comply. On top of this, you’ll also need to follow the instructions on the label, and contained in the SDS.
Staff who come into direct contact with hazardous or dangerous chemicals must take protective measures. When handling chemicals (including dyes, bleaches, perming and straightening solutions, shampoos and conditioners), staff should be wearing aprons, eye protection and protective, disposable gloves).ii Gloves are particularly essential to protect against irritant and allergic dermatitis, which can be caused by chemicals such as phentlendiamine and persulphate salts.iii
A safe salon needs to store chemicals appropriately. This includesiii:
- Storing chemicals away from energy sources, such as fuse boxes, naked flames, heat and intense light sources.
- Storing flammable chemicals in a cool place in a securely locked fireproof cabinet.
- Making sure chemicals are out of reach of children.
- Making sure procedures are in place for the clean-up of spills using a suitable absorbent material.
- Cleaning up chemical spills promptly.
- Purchasing chemicals in ready-to-use packages rather than transferring from large containers.
- Labelling containers with unknown contents as “caution, do not use – unknown substance.”
- Storing all unknown chemicals in isolation until the contents can be identified and properly labelled.
As well as this, the ACCC recommends that you stay up-to-date with product recalls via the Recalls Australia website or through their twitter account, @ProductSafetyAU.iv
Running a safe salon requires you to know the risks, and put preventive measures in place. Despite this, problems do arise, and accidents can happen. Small business insurance from Allianz can help your business recover from an insured event.
Allianz has a range of cover for businesses in the Hair & Beauty Industry including Public and Products Liability, Material Damage, Business Interruption and more. Get a quote from Allianz today.
The information in this document is general only. You should consider the risks that are relevant to your particular business and implement safe risk management practices.
Allianz Small Business Insurance is issued by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. We do not provide advice on this
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i WorkSafe Victoria, 2017, Management of Hazardous Substances in the Hairdressing and Beauty Industry, https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/211291/ISBN-Management-of-hazardous-substances-in-hairdressing-beauty-industry-2017-06.pdf
ii Safe Work Australia, 2016, Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals
iii SA Hair and Beauty, 2015, Work Health and Safety Guide, https://www.hairandbeautysa.com.au/images/Industry_Information/HB_WHS_Guide-pdf_050515.pdf
iv ACCC, 2011, Product safety bulletin: chemicals in cosmetics including hair products