On the 23rd June 2020, the Government finally announced that salons are allowed to re-open! Yas! They also released a super long 42-page document that we've trawled through and pulled out all the highlights to make it easily digestible for hair professionals! You can find the official document here.
How To Work Safely As A Hair Professional
For close contact services, such as hairdressing, personal protective equipment must be worn as you will be closer than 1m to your client. This should be a visor which should be worn at all times when working with your client.
- Further increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning
- Keep client time as short as possible
- Use screens and barriers to separate clients from each other.
- When barriers and screens are in place, hairdressers must still wear visors, and screens will not protect them from exposure from their own client
- Avoid face to face working, opting for back to back or side to side setups
- Use consistent pairing, i.e. ensure that certain workers are always on shift together, rather than having members of staff rotate. This will reduce exposure between your staff, particularly if staff work in very close proximity (within arms length of someone for a sustained period of time)
- Use floor markings to encourage social distancing
- Limit work stations to individual use only between staff member, or if this not possible ensure each workstation is used by the least staff members possible
- Encourage card or cashless payment options, including tips
- Minimise shared equipment
- Use disposable items where possible
This is defined as the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth, that may not be visible, can be present and pose a hazard from the client to the practitioner and vice versa.
For services that require face to face working for a sustained period of time, and would therefore mean working in the high-risk zone, you need to consider whether or not this service should be offered at all. The closer someone is to the virus, the greater the risk of transmission.
Keeping clients and customers safe
In order to help the government's test and trace service, you must keep a temporary record of your clients and visitors for 21 days, as this will assist the NHS test and trace requests for any data.
Limiting staff and customers' need to raise their voices is key to helping reduce the spread of the virus, therefore refrain from playing music that encourages shouting. Keeping music to a low level will help with this.
Steps you will need to take to keep customers safe:
- Encourage clients to use hand sanitisers and handwashing facilities as they enter the building and before their treatment.
- Calculate the maximum number of clients that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) and limiting the number of appointments at any one time. Take into account total floor space as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
- Reduce overlaps between staff and customers where possible.
- Request clients attend their appointment alone where possible.
- Clients who have no choice but to bring children (single parents) will be responsible for ensuring their children follow social distancing guidelines.
- Provide your salon policies on social distancing and health and safety practices before your customer’s appointment so that they are prepared and understand the restrictions put in place.
- Where possible, put a one-way system in place to reduce congestion in high traffic areas. This may only be possible in larger workspaces however is encouraged where possible.
- Use outside spaces as waiting areas or queuing zones will reduce footfall in the salon, however please be mindful of other businesses and the general public.
- Operate an appointment only system, and no longer allow walk-ins.
- Ensure social distancing in waiting areas, or operating a one in one out policy where social distancing is not possible.
- Encourage clients to be on time for their appointment.
- Minimise appointment lengths were possible.
You could also consider having discussion with neighbouring businesses as to how you can work together in order to support each other, for example, if you neighbour has a large unused car park that could help social distancing for those waiting for appointments.
Cleaning and Common Areas
- Use signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing techniques.
- Ensure you have social distancing markings in place for the area customers may queue for the toilet.
- Make hand sanitiser available, as well as soap, running water and hand drying facilities.
- Increase the cleaning rota for the toilet, paying particular attention to high contact surfaces such as taps, door handles and flush.
- Keep the facilities well ventilated by ensuring when unoccupied the door is left open.
- Ensure there is a visible and up to date cleaning schedule.
- Ensure more regular rubbish collection from toilet facilities.
Keeping your workplace clean
- Clean all equipment and work spaces between uses.
- High contact areas such as door handles should be cleaned even more frequently.
- Clean and clear all workspaces at the end of every shift.
- No magazines for clients.
- Sanitise any reusable equipment, including chairs, beds, and equipment such as scissors after every appointment, and at the beginning and end of the day.
- Use disposable gowns for each client. If this is not possible, gowns should be individual to the customer and washed before giving to the next client.
- Encourage staff to clean their uniforms daily, not to wear their uniforms at home, or when traveling to the workplace.
- Ensuring good workplace ventilation.
Handling deliveries and merchandise
- Enforce cleaning procedures for goods and merchandise entering the site.
- Regularly clean equipment that employees may bring from or take home.
- Cleaning should also take place before and following client use.
- Minimise person-to-person contact when accepting deliveries by creating pick-up and drop-off collection points for deliveries entering the premises.
- Encourage increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers and clients or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
- Putt in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand.
- Implement enhanced handling procedures of laundry to prevent potential contamination of surrounding surfaces, to prevent raising dust or dispersing the virus.
- Ensure that equipment entering a person’s home is thoroughly cleaned before use and between clients, with usual cleaning products.
- Minimise client contact with testers, for example, employees demonstrating testers from a distance or facilitating the use of testers.
- Stagger break times
- Utilise outside areas for breaks where possible
- Screens at reception
- Bring own food and drink
- No food or drink to be consumed by clients aside from water in disposable cups or bottles
- Encourage workers to remain on site for their shift
- Prepare work area ahead of client to avoid moving around too much during client appointments
- Stagger client arrival times to reduce congestion
- Only client should be present for appointments in the home
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
As hairdressing is a close contact working environment, hairdressers should be wearing a visor at all times when working with clients. Visors must fit the user and be worn properly. It should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face.
If using a reusable visor, it must be cleaned and sanitised regularly using normal cleaning products. There is no requirement for the client to wear any additional protection such as a mask or face covering when the hairdresser is wearing a visor.
Social distancing and hand washing is still the most effective method of preventing the transmission of COVID-19, and there is no benefit to either the client or hairdresser when wearing additional PPE to that which they would usually use, beyond the clear visor.
If you have been contacted by test and trace, you will still need to self isolate even if you are wearing a visor at work.
Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one.
You must tell your workers to:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and before and after removing it.
- When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
- Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.
- Continue to wash your hands regularly.
- Change and wash your face covering daily.
- If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste.
- Practise social distancing wherever possible.
The same people should work together from shift to shift, to avoid too many employees have contact with different people. If employees need to pass equipment or other items between each other, they should have designated drop off and transfer zones.
- Establish a process for shift handovers that encourages social distancing.
- Limit role/task rotation where possible.
- Stagger start times to avoid congestion at entrance, exit and communal areas.
- Encourage staff to avoid public transport where possible.
- If travelling with people, minimise the number of people doing this by using fixed partners, and increase ventilation when possible and avoid sitting face to face.
- Keep vehicles clean if used by multiple people.
- Minimise contact during payment by using electronic methods.
Communications and training
You will need to provide clear, consistent and regular communication to ensure staff are informed and comfortable with all of the new arrangements.
- Ensure staff understand the use of PPE and how to clean it efficiently.
- Continually reflect on the changing environment and the impact this has on staff
- Understand the importance of mental health and offer support where possible to your staff.
- Ensure clear and simple messaging on guidelines is available, especially for those who don't have english as their first language or have visual or hearing impairment.
- Utilise electronic communication with staff to avoid face to face communication where possible.
- Ensure clients understand all new procedures ahead of their appointment.
- Arrange team meetings to go through new systems
Where necessary, inform clients that police and the local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing and may instruct clients to disperse, leave an area, issue a fixed penalty notice or take further enforcement action.
Working from home and protecting the vulnerable
Protecting the vulnerable
Members of staff considered vulnerable have been advised to not work outside the home during the pandemic peak, and only return to work when the community infection rate is low. If vulnerable staff members cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on site roles.
Particular attention should also be paid to individuals who live with clinically vulnerable individuals, to ensure maximum social distancing is observed for them at all times. Those who can still work from home should continue to do so, but businesses should make an effort to ensure those team members still feel connected to their colleagues.
Accidents, Security and other incidents
In the event of an emergency, staff do not need to comply with social distancing, however those involved must pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately after the incident, including but not limited to thorough hand washing.
Screening questions ahead of appointments
You must ask your clients the following before their appointment:
Have you had the recent onset of a new continuous cough?
Do you have a high temperature?
Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
If the client has any of these symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home and reschedule their appointment.
We've created a risk assessment template to help you identify everything you need to in order to have a safe working environment post lockdown. Click here to view our risk assessment template.