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Hair stylists face multiple occupational hazards

Occupational injuries can happen in any work environment in California, and just because a hairdressing salon seems a glamorous, exciting and fun place to work does not mean stylists face no risks. In fact, salons pose multiple hazards that can cause long-term health problems. If you spend most of your workdays on your feet in a salon, you might have realized how fragile your body is.

Along with the musculoskeletal strain you put on your body, there are several other health risks present in your work environment. Being aware of them might provide some protection from harm.

Fatigue

Styling hair is much more demanding than it sounds, requiring you to spend hours standing on your feet. The following are further fatigue-related issues that typically take their toll on hair stylists:

  • Repetitive arm and hand movements, and holding your hands in fixed positions for extended periods can cause musculoskeletal strain.
  • The physical strain could cause shoulder, neck and back pain, and the time spent on your feet can lead to varicose veins in your legs.
  • Fatigue could make you more vulnerable to making mistakes that could cause injuries, and taking frequent breaks might prevent such injuries.

Equipment

Curling irons, hair dryers, razors and scissors are all dangerous pieces of equipment that could cause injuries if you do not handle them with care. The following hazards exist:

  • Cuts, burns, electrocutions and falls can occur, especially in a crowded space.
  • Inexperienced stylists must use equipment strictly according to the manufacturers' instructions.
  • Electrical hazards include damaged or old equipment, overloaded circuits, extension leads snaking over busy traffic areas in the salon, and appliances stored or used near water.

Chemical exposure

Your job will expose you to hazardous chemicals every day. Take precautions to avoid the consequences of exposure to the following:

  • Using products like dyes, perm lotions, hairspray and hair straightening or smoothing creams over an extended period can lead to headaches, dermatitis, skin irritations and even respiratory problems.
  • Some chemicals used in salons contain methylene glycol and formaldehyde at dangerous levels.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently warned that these chemicals could cause eye irritation or damage that might lead to blindness, skin sensitivity, nose irritation and breathing problems.

Work environment

Regardless of how stylish the salon environment is, the following hazards can exist:

  • Spills are frequent occurrences in salons, and failure to clean them up immediately will leave floors slippery and dangerous.
  • Unsafe shoes and the absence of adequately secured floor mats also pose slip-and-fall hazards.
  • Continuous contact with people can expose you to many risks, such as contracting illnesses, and the threat of harassment, robberies and violence will always be present.

Although awareness of potential hazards might make you alert enough to avoid most of them, accidents happen, and you might end up with a work-related injury. The first thing to do would be to report it to your employer, and then get medical care. This will bring you to the complicated process of filing a workers' compensation benefits claim for coverage of medical expenses and lost wages.

You might need legal counsel to guide you through the intricacies of the claims process that will involve your employer and his or her insurance provider, the doctors and the state. An experienced California workers' compensation attorney can put your needs first and advocate for you throughout ensuing proceedings.

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