Introduction, Health & Safety Law

Ear candling is an ancient treatment that goes right back as far and maybe further than the Egyptians.  The process involves using a hollow tube of linen soaked with bee’s wax, herbs and essential oils to create a gentle vacuum within the ear canal.  This combined with a facial and scalp massage increase lymphatic drainage, and relax the client – altogether helping many conditions, especially those around the ear nose and head.  The treatment is non invasive and safe if carried out correctly.

Before you begin work as a beauty, holistic therapist or nail technician you will need to be aware of the legislation that you must comply with for the health and safety of yourself and your clients.  You will need to have an understanding of what is expected of you as a professional.  This includes how to conduct yourself in front of clients and interact with fellow professionals. 

Health and Safety at work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires all employers to provide systems of work that are as far as reasonably practical, safe and without risks to any ones health.  As an employee you have the responsibility to take care of yourselves and others that may be affected by their work.  Employees must also co-operate with their employer in this legal obligation. 

As an employee you see something which could be potentially harming, such as a hole in which a person could trip over, it is your immediate responsibility to report this to the management and to take some remedial action such as placing a sign or covering the hole, until a repair can be made.  The act also requires employers to take regular risk assessments to identify potential problems, preventing accidents or injury from occurring.  Health and safety is enforced by Environmental health officers who visit the workplace.  Anyone who employs more than 5people must have written health and safety policies.  This should identify how health and safety is managed, including individual roles staff may have, such as first aid or fire safety. 

Risk Assessments

Risk Assessments should be carried out to identify what may cause harm in your workplace, who is at risk and how accidents could happen, as well as actions you need to take to prevent them.  You should record all of this information and all staff should then act upon it.   You can find templates for risk assessments on the website for Health & Safety Executive at

Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations (1999)

It is the responsibility of the employer to make formal arrangements for maintaining and improving safe working conditions and practices.  This includes any training and risk assessments.

Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (1992)

This covers the use of display screen equipment and computer screens.  This specifies the acceptable levels of radiation emissions from the screen, as well as identifying the correct posture and number of rest periods.

Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998)

This states any duties for any users of equipment.  It identifies the requirements in selecting and maintaining suitable equipment, as well as the training and safe use of it.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005)

 All premises must have adequate means of dealing with a fire and all members of staff should know where these are.  This can include fire extinguishers and blankets; however you should only operate a fire extinguisher if you have been properly trained to do so.  All equipment should be checked and maintained regularly.  Fire drill notices should be clearly displayed and should inform people of what do to in case of a fire.  All staff should be trained in location of alarms, exits and meeting points.

Manual handling operations Regulations 1992

The HSE (Health & Safety Executives) have drawn attention to musculoskeletal disorders caused by lifting and handling with an unsuitable posture, causing pain and injury.  The regulations require that training in lifting and handling are performed to prevent such injury’s occurring.

Cash Handling

Under the health and safety at work act, failure to provide a safe system of cash handling could lead to prosecution of the employer.  For example employers should consider this before sending a member of staff to the bank with cash as it is putting them in a potentially unsafe situation.

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations 1992

This act covers equipment and protective clothing to ensure the safety for all in the workplace.   This act also states that personnel must have training in the use of such protective measures.

RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases or Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995

This regulation states that if anyone dies, is seriously injured in an accident at work, or is off work for longer than 3 days as a result of an accident at work the employer must report it to the local authority environmental health department.  Employers must keep a record in an accident book of any accident or disease.  For legal reasons, eve minor accidents should be recorded so that there can be an agreed record of what occurred and what action was taken.

Performing Rights PPL & PRS

If recorded music is played on the premises, and heard by members of the public, then it is necessary to have a license from the phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) which like the PRS (Performing Right Society) collects License payments as royalties’ distribution to certain copyright performers and record companies.  This includes music on television channels, radios, CD’s, MP3 Players.

COSHH – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994

This law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace.  Most products used in the salon are reasonably safe, however could become hazardous under certain conditions, or if are used in-correctly.  Every therapist should be trained on how to use and store these products correctly.  It is the Employers responsibility to assess the risk of hazardous substances and decide on any action to reduce the risks.

Gas Safety (installation & Use) Regulations 1994

This regulation relates to the use of and maintenance of gas supplies.  The rights of entry regulations 1996 gives GAS and HSE inspectors the rights to enter premises and order the disconnection of dangerous and unsafe appliances.  All work undertaken on Gas appliances should be done by registered engineers.

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

This regulation ensures the safety in the use of electricity.  Part of this act is the operation and maintenance of electrical equipment in the salon.  Equipment should be tested regularly (every 6 months) to ensure that all flexes and fuses are functioning properly.  This does not necessarily need to be an electrician.  Most salons have their equipment tested on an annual basis and are certified this is known as portable appliance testing (PAT).

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

Part 8 of the act provides local authorities with powers for the registration of persons who are performing skin piercing (ear piercing, acupuncture etc).  It applies to everyone whether working from a salon or mobile.  Each local authority operates its own methods of inspection and licensing at its own cost.  Fees vary depending on your location.

Trades Description Act 1968 (Amended 1987)

This Act prohibits the use of false trade descriptions.  Whether your own claim, or repeating of a manufacturers description, a false claim can be equally liable.

Sale of Goods Act 1979 & Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994

These acts cover consumer rights including goods being satisfactory quality and the conditions in which the goods may be returned after purchase, and whether the goods are fit for their purpose.

Consumer Protection Act (1987)

This act aims to protect the consumer from unsafe or defective services or products.  All staff should be trained in the treatments they carry out and the equipment used in the salon.

Cosmetic Products Safety Regulations 1996

These regulations were made under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and implement EEC regulations regarding labeling, composition, marketing and description of cosmetic products.

Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969

This act ensures that all employers take out and maintain approved insurance policies with authorised insurance bodies for bodily injury or disease sustained by their employees in the course of their employment.  Insurers must issue a certificate of insurance to employers who are required to display the certificate (or a copy) at each place of the business.

Treatment Liability Insurance

Attention is drawn to the risks which are insurable under a treatment liability policy.  To provide treatments or to advise without such insurance cover may result in the therapist whether employed or not suffering heavy financial penalties.  Employees who do not have their own insurance must ensure that they are covered by their employer’s policy.

Data Protection Act 1984

If a computer is used to record client data information the establishment must be registered under this act.  The act operates to ensure the information is only used for the purposes that it was given.  No information may be given to an outsider without the client’s permission.  The client whose information is held has the right to request the information for viewing.  It must be provided to them within 40 days of an application and of a fee not exceeding 10.00.  Clients can seek compensation though court for any infringement of their rights.  For more information visit:


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland a minor is anyone under the age of 18.  Sometimes you will have requests for appointments from clients who are younger.  If the client is under 18 you should always obtain written from permission from their parent or guardian for the treatment to go ahead.  They should also accompany the minor to the salon for the appointment.  It is also recommended that you check your insurance policy wording to see if there are any age restrictions detailed in it.

Salon owners should insist that appointments for under 16’s are booked out of school hours.  Tanning treatments should not be carried out on under 18’s in line with guidance from the British Medical Association and the HSE.  It is recommended that intimate waxing such as Brazilian or Hollywood should not be carried out on anyone under the age of 18.

First Aid at Work

(The Health & Safety First Aid Regulations 1981)

Employers have a legal duty to make arrangements to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.  It is essential that they receive immediate attention and that an ambulance is called in serious cases. A person within the workplace should be appointed to take charge of the first aid arrangements.  These regulations do not require employers to provide first aid for anyone other than their own employees. 

Equal Opportunities

The equal Opportunities Commission states that a workplace must have a written equal opportunities policy which includes a statement on the commitment to equal opportunities by the employer.  All employees should be aware of this policy.  Equal opportunities mean that you cannot discriminate against anyone upon the basis of their sex, race disability etc.

Disability Discrimination Act (1996)

You should ensure that clients are not discriminated against on the grounds of a disability.  You cannot use this as a reason to refuse to provide a treatment or service, you cannot provide a lesser service or fail to make reasonable adjustments.  The premises must be able to facilitate access for disabled people.

The Equality Act (2010 EA)

This act gives disabled people important rights of access to everyday services.  Service providers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to premises or to the way they provide a service.  Sometimes it just takes minor changes to make a service accessible. 


All areas of work in the uk should now be smoke free by law.  If you do have a smoking area, this should be clearly marked.  You should display signs prohibiting smoking within your business.


All uniforms, towels and couch covers should be laundered with a detergent at a minimum temperature of 60 degrees centigrade and then tumble dried on a hot setting.  If your towels are white they can be washed on the hottest setting your machine will allow.  Never let towels stand while wet.

Hand Washing

Remember to always wash your hands before and after every treatment.  This should involve a thorough 20 to 30 second wash of the hands and wrists using hot water and liquid soap, followed by drying with paper towels or hand drier.  Certain areas of the hands are more prone to harboring micro organisms.  These are between fingers, the finger tips,the thumb and back of the hand and wrist.

Waste Anything contaminated with human tissues (blood, bodily fluids, excretions, swabs) should be designated as a group A clinical waster under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992.

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