Hygiene, Health & Safety

Maintaining a high standard of hygiene as a therapist is essential. Not only from a health and safety perspective, but clients will not return if the Clinic, treatment area, or equipment are not clean.  It is vital therefore to ensure that we provide a safe environment for clients.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty on employers and the self-employed to protect the health and safety of themselves and others they employ, this also includes our clients.

A hazard is anything that can cause harm

Hazards therapist need to be aware of:

  • RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) 1995
  • Moving & Handing of heavy loads or objects
  • First aid training
  • Ensure PPE (Personal Protective Clothing) is available and utilised where necessary using hazardous substances, materials or chemicals, especially those which can affect the skin.

For further information check out www.hse.gov.uk

Reporting Accidents and Incidents

The reporting of all accidents/incidents should be recorded in the accident book, which should be kept with a first aid kit on the premises.

For the average Clinic a first aid box and an eye wash bottle should be sufficient.

Below is a list of the minimum requirements for a first aid box.

First aid box contents

  • First Aid guidance
  • Individually wrapped sterile dressings
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Sterile triangular bandages
  • Safety pins.

Reporting Accidents and Incidents

The reporting of all accidents/incidents should be recorded in the accident book, which should be kept with a first aid kit on the premises.

Accident report

It is very important to complete the accident report correctly, whether this is for a minor cut or scald, or something more serious like a person slipping on a wet floor, they could bang their head which may not seem to be a problem at the time but the person could have concussion and need medical attention.

The following information should be recorded:

  • Full name and address of person(s) involved
  • Circumstances of accident/incident
  • Date & time of accident/incident
  • Details of any contributing factors

The Electricity at Work Regulations

These regulations cover the installation, maintenance and use of all electrical equipment in the workplace. The employer must ensure that the electrical equipment is maintained and checked regularly; that all employees receive training in the use of the equipment, following manufacturer’s instructions.

Remember: Electricity can kill or cause severe burns. Treat it with respect!

Make sure you:

  • understand the instructions before using any electrical equipment. If you don’t, ask
  • always switch off at the mains before connecting or disconnecting any electrical appliance
  • dry hands thoroughly before using electrical equipment
  • check equipment looks clean and in good repair before using
  • report any damaged electrical tools or equipment, including cables and plugs and remove from use.

Clinic/Treatment area hygiene

  • Clean the Clinic thoroughly daily
  • Clean the treatment area before and after every client
  • Use clean fresh towels fir each client (dirty linen must be laundered at a minimum of 60°)
  • Creams, lotions and sprays should be dispensed from purpose-specific pump or spray bottles where possible, otherwise use a clean disposable spatula to remove products from bottles/jars.
  • Replace all lids after removing products from the bottles/jars.
  • Sterilise all tools
  • Empty bins and dispose of contents accordingly
  • Check all plugs and wires on electrical equipment and make sure they conform to British Standards.
  • Make sure all fire exits are clear and accessible
  • Protect clients clothing by using towels.
  • Store products safely and in accordance with safety data sheets

There is a legal requirement to provide a safe environment for staff and clients who may be using your premises. Carrying out a risk assessment will identify any hazards, which is a situation that poses a level of threat or potential harm. If there is a hazard it is important to put controls in place to minimise the risk. Sensible measures need to be auctioned to reduce the hazard to provide a safe working practice.

It is important that risks are minimised and that all staff are trained in the event of an accident. There are some potential Clinic hazards that will require a risk assessment, such as the Clinic space, any chemicals being used, any equipment used and the security of clients and money.

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations

These regulations require employers to provide suitable personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE) to all employees who may be exposed to any risk while working. In a Clinic environment PPE is supplied for use when handling chemicals. PPE is also used when carrying out wet work.

Personal Protective Equipment is used to protect your clothes and skin from damage, or harm.

Outline of the employer’s responsibilities for PPE

It is the employer’s responsibility to:

  • supply personal protective equipment for employees
  • maintain and replenish PPE when required
  • train staff in the correct use of PPE and when to use
  • identify risks with recommendations of when to use PPE.

Outline of the employee’s responsibilities for PPE

  • It is the employee’s responsibility to:
  • report any damage or loss of PPE
  • wear PPE as required in the Clinic and in accordance to instructions provided
  • examine PPE before wearing
  • clean and store after use as required by the Clinic.

Sterilising Equipment

Micro-organisms that may cause disease must be controlled through cleaning, sanitation, sterilisation or disinfection.


Reduces the number of pathogen bacteria. The lowest form of decontamination and is safe to use on the skin. This process removes dust, dirt and organic matter along with a large proportion of micro-organisms from an object.

Sanitation is essential before sterilisation or disinfection, the process is carried out by applying sanitising sprays, soaps or gels directly onto the skin, equipment or instruments.


Kills all living organisms.

Several ways to sterilise the equipment:

  • UV light-An enclosed steel cabinet that emits UV light when closed to kill off any bacteria
  • Autoclave- Works by heating water under pressure to 100° which kills all germs.
  • Barbicide- Liquid used to soak instruments, ammonia can be used as the liquid within the barbicide.


This greatly reduces pathogenic bacteria on work surfaces, this method is not suitable for skin, hair or nails. Disinfection is used on floors, work surfaces, work stations, walls, bowls.

Methods of hygiene and sterilising for specific tools

  • Micro brush – Disposable
  • Mascara wand  – Disposable
  • Dappen dish – always wash with warm soapy water and clean with surgical spirit after each client.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

These regulations require the employer to carry out a risk assessment on all employees for manual lifting. It is the law.

All at work must minimise the risks from lifting and handling objects, for example when dealing with heavy or awkward shaped deliveries of stock.

You need to ensure that you lift the delivery load in the correct way.

If the load is heavy ask someone to help, or split the box if you can.

Steps to take when lifting a box

1.  Place your feet slightly apart (in line with your shoulders) with the leading leg forward.

2.  Bend your knees, keeping your back straight when picking up the box.

3.  Using both hands get a firm grip of the box from underneath.

4.  Lift the box up and hold close to your body (don’t twist the body).

Remember: Back problems can cause a lot of pain, and can last a lifetime.

You should not try to lift/move, anything, which is too heavy or too bulky for you to manage safely.

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