Unit 4: Health & Safety

Safety and hygiene standards should always be as high as possible whenever any form of treatment is carried out.  It is vital that hygiene and cleanliness are prime considerations, not only for the satisfaction of the client but also to comply with legal requirements.  These are laid down by the Health and Safety at work Act and the local Environmental Health Office.  Business premises are inspected annually and must conform to various hygiene requirements.  Regulations may vary from area to area.

Cross infection must be avoided at all times.  By thoroughly checking for contraindications it is possible to avoid working on people who have obvious infections.  However, clients are not always aware that infection is present.  It is therefore necessary for the safety and well-being of both client and practitioner that sound hygiene measures are strictly adhered to.

When performing any type of therapy treatment where very little equipment is used, and the range of the hygiene measures that had to be implemented are reduced:

  • Surfaces and equipment should be washed daily with antiseptic solution.
  • Tools should always be sterilised
  • Floors should be hovered and mopped daily
  • Caps and lids on bottles and jars should be immediately replaced when you have used them to avoid spillage
  • Towels and any linen should be changed for each client
  • Couch roll and face covers should be used at all times
  • First aid kit should be available
  • All paper waste should be disposed immediately into a covered container and disposed at the end of each day.  Waste bins should be disinfected daily
  • Toilets and washbasins should be cleaned daily with the appropriate chemicals
  • All oil spills should be wiped up immediately
  • Disposable gloves should be available
  • Use antibacterial hand wash between each treatment
  • Wipe massage chair / couch with antibacterial spray after each treatment

Personal Hygiene

The practitioner should also adopt high standards of personal image to avoid cross infection at all times:

  • Always wash hands, preferably with an antibacterial soap prior to the treatment and ensure nails are clean
  • Long hair should be tied back
  • Take regular showers
  • Prevent body odour by using deodorant
  • Clean teeth twice a day and have regular dental checks
  • Avoid eating heavily spiced foods  before each treatment
  • Keep fingernails short and don’t wear polish.
  • Wear minimal make up and no jewellery
  • Don’t use strongly fragranced perfumes.
  • Wash hands with anti-bacterial soap between each treatment.

Client Hygiene

Consultation procedures should screen out the majority of problems, however do not rely on the client’s word and make your own visual and verbal check.  The following steps can be taken to avoid cross infection:

  • Provide washing facilities and hand wash for the clients to use before and after treatment.
  • Avoid working over any obvious skin abrasions.
  • Try to avoid breathing over a client or allow them to breathe over you during the treatment.

Preparing your Work Area

Treatment Area

It is most important that you present the best impression of yourself, whether that is in your own treatment room, in a salon or at a client’s home.  The following information should help you to ensure the best impression is always provided.


The first impression your client receives will depend upon the manner in which she/he is greeted and the surroundings they are placed into.  A professional atmosphere should be presented at all times, with sufficient room to discuss the record card/consultation form and write observations.  Your client should feel comfortable, warm and relaxed.

Calm efficiency and organisation should be clearly apparent to the client from her first contact with you as this will instill confidence in the professional skills you will be offering.  It is essential that you have an excellent ‘reception’ technique, together with a knowledgeable response to any questions the client may raise.

A tentative enquiry, if dealt with in a calm, efficient and knowledgeable manner, can become a regular client booking.  Client satisfaction will result from fulfilling the requirements of the client in a professional and efficient manner.  You should refrain from pressurising a client into taking treatments or buying product, you should recommend not push.

Work Area

Preparation of the working area prior to the client’s arrival is vital, not only to provide the right impression to the client, but also to ensure that the treatment provided can be completed in the given timeframe. 

  • A therapy room should be relaxing and welcoming.  The working area should preferably have a good supply of natural light.  Tip – use blinds to temper strong natural light.  When you do use artificial lighting it should not be too bright and should be indirect so that it does not shine into your client’s eyes.  If you light candles always remember to extinguish them.
  • The room you work in should be adequate in size and allow you to walk freely around your client.
  • The floor should be of a material that is easily cleaned or vacuumed and is not slippery, noisy or cold.
  • Always make sure that the room you’re working in is clean and tidy.  Remember, first impressions last.  If your toilet and the room it’s in are not clean, it gives your client the wrong impression of you and could lead them to question your own hygiene practices.
  • A comfortable chair should be provided with suitable back support for the client.  Ensure that the height of the chair is suitable for your height as if the chair is too low; you will not be able to stand straight to perform the treatment and may cause damage to your back in the process.  You need to be comfortable and relaxed yourself to provide a good treatment.
  • Temperature and ventilation:  Your room must be warm enough for the client not to become chilled but not so warm that it’s uncomfortable for you to work.  It should be ventilated to prevent it becoming stuffy.  Tip:  as the body cools very quickly during a massage a blanket or large towel should be on hand to cover the client if necessary.
  • A small bowl should be provided for the client to put her jewellery in when she undresses so that there can be no loss following the treatment
  • It is important to have on some low, calming music in the background to further relax the client.
  • Refreshments:  Always offer your client a drink of water before leaving. 
  • Aftercare

At the end of the day, if your client has a relaxing and pleasant treatment, they are more likely to come back.

Health & Safety

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 legislation that gives rights to employees and employer.

The Health and Safety at Work act ensures that employers and employees maintain high standards of health and safety in the workplace.

A health and safety policy must be in place if an employer has more than five employees, and all staff must be aware of it. 

Both employers and employees have responsibilities under this Act. 

Employers must ensure that:

  • The workplace is safe and does not pose a risk to the health and safety of either clients or employees
  • That there is a safe system in place for handling cash, e.g. procedures to follow when taking money to the bank to pay-in.
  • All equipment is safe and is regularly checked by qualified electricians
  • Staff are aware of safety procedures in the workplace and have the necessary information, instruction and training.

Employee’s responsibilities include:

  • Following the health and safety policy
  • Reading the hazard warning labels on containers and following the advice given
  • Reporting any potential hazards such as glass breakage or spillage of chemicals to the relevant person in the workplace.

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations Act 1992requires all employers and their employees at work to maintain a safe and healthy working environment.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 states what regulations to follow.  It is essential that a place of work must have a first aid box containing: plasters, bandages, wound dressings, safety pins, eye pads, and cleaning wipes.

A first aid record book should be kept and if first aid is carried out, information that needs to be recorded is the patients name, date, time, what happened, any injury details, treatment given and any advice given.

The Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1992 – states all electrical equipment should be checked by a qualified electrician annually to make sure it is safe. 

This act is concerned with safety while using electricity.  Any electrical equipment used must be checked regularly to ensure that it is safe.  These checks should be listed in a record book and would be important evidence in any legal action that may arise.  Broken or damaged equipment or equipment with exposed wires should not be used.  Cracked sockets should also not be used and sockets should never be overloaded.

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995states the steps that should be followed if an accident occurs at work of if someone occurs an injury.

Minor accidents should be entered into a record book, stating what occurred and what action was taken.  

It is important that all concerned should sign.  If as a result of an accident at work anyone is off work for more than 3 days, or someone is seriously injured, or has a type of occupational disease certified by the doctor, or even dies, a report should be sent to the local authority Environmental Health Department as soon as possible.

The Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969states all employers and self-employed persons must hold liability insurance. 

Employers must take out insurance policies in case of claims by employees for injury, disease or illness related to the workplace. 

A certificate must be displayed at work to show that the employer has the insurance.

Environmental Protection Act – waste regulations  – states all waste chemicals must be disposed of safely and anybody using hazardous substances must ensure that disposal of them (by a licensed company) does not cause harm to the environment or landfill site.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 1994 – instructs of ways substances deemed as hazardous to health should be stored.  It is a requirement that all employees should be made aware of risks and given appropriate training.  Detailed instructions must be kept regarding any products considered hazardous. 

Examples of some COSHH symbols to inform the user of the potential hazards

Consumer Protection Act 1987 – this act aims to safeguard any consumer against products, which do not reach a reasonable level of safety. 

Any person injured by a product can take action against the producer, importer or an own brander. 

The Local Government Act 1982 – Bylaws are laws made by your local council.  Workplace bylaws are primarily concerned with hygiene and different councils around the country have different ones.   

The Act states a person may not carry out their practice unless registered by the local authority and premises have to be registered to carry out treatments.  This only applies to businesses which practice beauty treatments such as ear piercing, electrical epilation, acupuncture etc. 

The Fire Precautions Act 1997 – the laws requires all premises to undertake a fire risk assessment and that all staff must be trained in fire and emergency evacuation procedure and the premises must have adequate fire escapes. 

If five or more people work together as employees, the fire risk assessment must be in writing, and must also take into account all other persons on the premises, i.e. clients and visitors to the salon. 

In the period of one year there must be at least one fire drill that involves everyone.  All staff must be fully informed and trained in fire and emergency evacuation procedure.

  • All fire fighting equipment should be regularly checked to ensure its in good working order and that there is adequate amount available
  • Fire exit doors should be clearly marked and should remain unlocked and must not be obstructed.
  • Smoke alarms must be installed and regularly tested.
  • All staff must be trained in fire drill procedures and this information should be displayed at the workplace.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers are red with a different of colour just below the neck for different types of fire:

Colour RED – Contains WATER – and is used to put out fires of Natural material – such paper, wood, cloth etc

Colour BLUE – Contains DRY POWDER – and is used to put out Electrical fires – and can also be used to put fires containing oils, alcohols, solvents, paint, flammable liquids, and gases

Colour CREAM – Contains FOAM – and is used to put out fires containing flammable liquids (not to be used on Electrical fires!)

Colour BLACK – Contains Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – and is used to put out Electrical fires (electric supply to be turned off first) also any fires containing grease, fats, oils paint, flammable liquids (note not to be used on chip-pan or frying pan  fires)

Performing Rights Act – it is a legal requirement to purchase a license if any music is played in waiting or treatment rooms as this is considered to be a public performance.

If you play music you will need to purchase a license from Phonographic Performance Ltd. These organisations collect the performance fees and give the money to performers and record companies.  If you do not buy a license, legal action may be taken against you.

Beauty Training Portal