top of page

Industry Focus

As part of Moore McPhee's commitment to Industry Safety, we will regularly write an article focusing on a particular industry and what WHS means for that industry.

This article discusses the WHS requirements of the Hair Dressing Industry.

I was at my hairdresser’s the other day, getting my hair cut and what my husband calls my ‘skunk stripe’ (that’s regrowth for anyone interested) redyed. I spent much of the time there watching how most of a hairdresser’s tasks require dextrous movement of the fingers and wrists, and naturally wondered if Helen, my hairdresser, had ever suffered from arm or wrist pain.  I asked her about her wrists, and she told me she was advised to rethink her career choice when she was a young woman, after having a golf ball sized ganglion removed from her wrist. 20 years later she continues to work as a hairdresser and has learned ways to manage her personal risks at work using different postures and techniques, and hasn’t had any troubles with her wrists since.

Many of a hairdressers’ movements are repetitive throughout their day, and use the same muscle groups: cutting, use of hairdryers and brushes etc. It is important that all hairdressers, including apprentices, are given thorough hazardous manual task training and provided with the opportunity to use different muscle groups throughout their shift. This training is touched on during trade school but needs to be followed up in the salon to develop good habits that will set up apprentices for the rest of their working lives.

Although hazardous manual tasks would likely be the most obvious hazard present in a hairdressing salon, there are other risks that need to be managed under the WHS Act 2012 such as:

Hazardous and dangerous goods:

New chemicals including cleaning products, dyes, bleaches, permanent wave solutions etc all require a Safety Data Sheet (formerly known as a Material Safety Data Sheet). Suppliers of these chemicals are required to provide copies of Safety Data Sheets upon request. A salon owner needs to review the Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals to ensure they will be stored, handled and disposed of correctly.



Use of electrical equipment around water is a known hazard within hairdressing salons. Care needs to be taken when planning or redesigning the layout of a salon to ensure electrical equipment is kept well away from washing stations.


Slips, trips and falls:

Most premises used for salons use either heavy duty domestic or quality commercial grade vinyl or laminates as their flooring. These floors may become very slippery when covered in hair or water, so must be cleaned up regularly. Good housekeeping standards must also be maintained with regard to product and electrical cords to ensure trip hazards are removed so far as reasonably practicable.



Hairdressers often work long hours which may involve split shifts and working six days a week. It is important to ensure hairdressing staff have adequate time away from work, making allowances for social and domestic activities.


Working alone:

Hairdressers often work alone at some point in the week, with more staff rostered on from Thursday to Saturday. Consideration should be given to personal safety, including when locking up for the night.


Cash handling:

As with working alone, salon owners should consider how they will manage cash safely so as to not expose themselves to the real possibility of theft.


As part of Moore McPhee’s commitment to regularly publish articles that contribute to small business work health and safety, every quarter we choose an industry to spotlight for our Industry Focus.  In these articles, we explain how work health and safety relates specifically to this industry and discuss any particular needs of that industry.  If you would like your industry to be covered as part of this series, please contact us.

Moore McPhee WHS Consultants specialise in the needs of small and medium businesses. We are here to help and can provide cost effective solutions for your business. Contact us on 1300 362 351, or speak directly to our Senior Principal Consultant Vanessa Moore on 0401 382 083 or at [email protected] for a confidential discussion about your particular work health and safety needs.

Disclaimer: Any advice and information in this article is general in nature, does not take into account particular circumstances and should not be construed as professional advice. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the information in this article is prepared for South Australian Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking as defined in the SA Work Health and Safety Act 2012 only. The information may be applicable to other states of Australia that have adopted the harmonised work health and safety legislation but is not guaranteed.


© Moore McPhee WHS Consultants Pty Ltd 2017. All rights reserved. Copyright from other authors is acknowledged were applicable. Do not copy, publish or reuse without permission.

If you would like your industry to be the subject of one of our articles, please contact us.

bottom of page