Client Health

Play It Safe, Protect Yourself

Big news incidents are unusual but as a salon professional you need to do your part to calm clients and show them client safety is foremost in your salon.

 When there’s an airplane crash, even frequent fliers get jittery. When someone finds a fingertip in a bowl of chilli at a fast food restaurant, people stop going out to eat. And when someone dies after getting a pedicure, you’re going to see some empty pedicure chairs. Despite how safe air travel is, how scrupulous restaurants try to be, and how usually benign a pedicure is, any incident causes intense — and usually justified — scrutiny by the public. These incidents are very unusual but as a salon professional you need to do your part to calm clients and show them client safety is foremost in your salon.

A woman in Texas died recently after receiving a pedicure and allegedly contracting a staph infection as a result. I’m not here to debate the client’s claim; rather I think we need to show that as an industry we are doing everything we can to ensure client safety. You need to be prepared to respond to client questions with knowledge and full detail. And you also need to protect yourself.

  • Always talk to clients about their medical history, including conditions that cause poor circulation (diabetes, for example), medications, and ask about illnesses or hospitalizations. Do not service a client when you have any doubt at all about her health, nor any client with an open sore. Better still, develop a relationship with doctors to whom you refer clients you don’t feel you can work on.
  • Follow required disinfection practices to the letter and never allow shortcuts. There is simply no excuse but laziness for giving short shrift to cleanliness.
  • Don’t mix and match products against manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re going to play chemist, you better know how the chemicals are going to react.
  • Keep products in their proper containers, with lids tightly sealed. Prevent spills of chemicals like primer by moving them off the worktable when they’re not in use. Primer burns are a lot more common in the salon than pedicure infections are.
  • Protect yourself with adequate insurance. Start looking at professional liability insurance the way you do car insurance: Don’t operate without it. Most of you are owners or booth renters and could lose considerably more than your businesses if you are sued and lose.
  • Keep the salon clean. Floors should be clean, dry, and free of debris. Do not leave things on the floor that could be tripped on.
  • Give clients nail care instructions. For example, tell them that if they have a lifting acrylic nail they should return to the salon to have it repaired rather than trying to repair it themselves.
  • Keep it simple and consistent. By protecting your clients, you protect yourself as well. —

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