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Biological hazards in nail salons cause workplace injuries

California residents may not consider working in a nail salon to be a hazardous job. However, individuals who work in nail salons are often exposed to dangers from chemicals and biological hazards. The situation is serious enough that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created guidelines to ensure the safety of such workers in order to avoid workplace injuries.

For instance, workers come into contact with the skin and nails of their clients throughout the day. What may seem like a small, innocent cut could cause harm to a worker if the client has an illness that can be transmitted via blood. Further, clients could have a fungal, bacterial or viral infection that can be transmitted to the worker through contact.

Therefore, it is recommended that nail salon workers wear gloves and wash their hands frequently -- especially between clients. All equipment must be cleaned and sanitized in accordance with prevailing standards, including any spas and foot basins. If a client bleeds, the worker should ask him or her to stop the bleeding with a tissue or cotton ball, which should be thrown away by the client once the bleeding has subsided. The worker should never touch the blood.

Other precautionary measures include being vaccinated for Hepatitis B, keeping any open wounds bandaged and avoid contact with any bodily fluids -- including blood. Workplace injuries involving biological hazards may not seem dangerous at the time, but if one occurs, a worker should be checked out by medical personnel since there is no way of knowing whether a client or coworker has a condition that is infectious. California workers' compensation benefits may be available to cover any medical treatment needed and lost wages during recovery.

Source: osha.gov, "Health Hazards in Nail Salons: Biological Hazards", Nov. 29, 2014

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