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Risk Management for Nail Technicians

Risk management for nail technicians is a serious legal obligation shared among the thousands of hair, nail, and beauty industry employees. Although nail care doesn’t seem to be too risky to do, there are many hidden hazards. Due to the nature of the work performed and the products used, nail technicians and their clients are constantly exposed to hazardous materials. Therefore, strict compliance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) should be considered to be essential to any risk management programme.

Identifying risks

The first step of controlling or managing risk is to identify what all the risks may be. For nail technicians, this assessment includes anything that may be harmful to themselves or any other human being that may be affected by their work. It’s fairly easy to identify the more obvious risks, such as faulty equipment or possible fire hazards.

However, most of the risks taken by nail technicians are from less obvious sources. These hazards include chemical and dust exposure, contagious diseases, and musculoskeletal disorders. These are the perils that may arise from repetitive motions, poor work postures, inhaling or absorbing toxic chemicals and dust, and poor hygiene. The risks may also arise from improper use and storage of safety equipment, tools, products, or the lack of utilising safety procedures.

The second step is to identify the people who may be harmed, and in what way they could be harmed. People with respiratory ailments, young children, pregnant women, and untrained employees may be especially vulnerable to chemical and dust exposure. People with immune system deficiencies and severe allergies may also be more vulnerable to chemical and dust exposure.

Creating a Plan of Action

The third step is to evaluate the preventative measures already in place. Then create a plan of action to eliminate, reduce, or control any risk that is not adequately addressed already. The plan of action should include prioritising the risks by level of importance.

The fourth step is to record the assessment findings. It may be necessary to share the findings with health and safety inspectors. Recording the findings also makes it easier to do the fifth step, which is to constantly monitor and review the risk management programme in place. As the work and workplace environment will constantly be changing, the amount and types of risks will also be changing. It’s essential for the risk management control measures to be kept up-to-date to match the current and future risks.

COSHH Regulation requirements

According to the COSHH Regulation requirements, nail technician employers have the legal duty to:

· Calculate the risks to workers from hazardous substances present or generated in the workplace. They must also asses the risks to others who may be affected by the work.
· Avert or sufficiently control the exposure of employees and others to any hazardous substances present or generated in the workplace.
· Make certain that the control measures, including engineering and personal protective equipment, are properly utilised and maintained. Employers must also ensure the working practices that are set as control measures are appropriate, adequate, and being followed by all employees.
· Arrange for monitoring of the workplace exposures to hazardous substances and health surveillance for the workers, when necessary.
· Ensure that workers are given information, training, and instructions regarding the possible effects of exposure to hazardous substances. They must make sure all employees know how to properly use the control measures and safety equipment that’s been provided.

COSHH also requires employees to follow the defined working practices that are intended to ensure the minimal risk of exposure. The regulations also require employees to properly use all control measures, including personal protective equipment, and to report any defects to a supervisor or manager. The employee is also obligate to attend any health surveillance appointments when they have been scheduled.

Seek expert advice

If a nail technician isn’t certain what should be considered to be a hazardous substance, then he or she should seek expert advice. It’s important to remember that not all hazardous substances are labelled as such. Many products have harmful ingredients that are not included on the labels. Product manufacturers and senior management of various nail bars and beauty salons may provide expert advice regarding which products are risky. Professional risk management organisations may also be able to help assess the possible dangers. However, it’s impossible to avoid all risks, so be sure to purchase sufficient amounts of professional and product liability insurance as well. Risk management for nail technicians can be quite difficult and it’s easy to make mistakes when assessing the risks.