Step 6 of 20 - Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2003 (COSHH)

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This law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. Most of the products used in the salon are perfectly safe, but some products could become hazardous under certain conditions or if used inappropriately. All salons should be aware of how to use and store these products.

Employers are responsible for assessing the risks from hazardous substances and must decide upon an action to reduce those risks. Proper training should be given and employees should always follow safety guidelines and take the precautions identified by the employer.

On the right are the symbols that show types of hazardous substances. COSHH requires that they are found on packaging and containers in health, beauty and hairdressing salons.

Here are some examples of potential hazards:

- highly flammable substances, such as hairspray or alcohol steriliser are hazardous because their fumes will ignite if exposed to a naked flame.
- explosive materials, such as hairspray, air freshener or other pressurised cans will explode with force if placed in heat, such as an open fire, direct sunlight, or even on top of a hot radiator.
- chemicals can cause severe reactions and skin damage. Vomiting, respiratory problems and burning could be the result if chemicals are misused.

COSHH precautions
Employers must, by law, identify, list and assess in writing any substance in the workplace. This applies not only to products used in the salon, but also to products that are used in cleaning, e.g. bleach or polish. These substances must be given a hazard rating, or risk assessment, even if it is zero.
Finally, you should read all the COSHH sheets used in the salon and be safe: abide by what they say, never abuse manufacturer’s instructions, and attend regular staff training for product use - you never know when you might need it!

content provide by Heinemann

Remember these COSHH tips:
Manufacturers have to supply COSHH data sheets for all their products. Get one for each product.
Remember that a reaction can happen if the client is using products at home that may not mix well with salon preparations, e.g. home hair colourants.
Clients may be more susceptible to reactions if they are taking long-term medication, such as HRT or the contraceptive pill. This must be included on the client record card.
Invest in all the leaflets and latest information regarding COSHH from your local Health and Safety Executive office.
Keep up to date and keep safe. 
Jordan Burr
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales

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