Hairdresser illness or injury claims

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Howard Willis

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A guide to making a No Win No Fee hairdresser illness and injury claim

Hairdressers regularly handle potentially hazardous chemicals such as hair dyes that can cause injury or illness if mishandled or regularly used without suitable protection. The physical nature of the role can also present health risks such the development of repetitive strain injury (RSI) or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Owners and operators of salons owe a duty of care to their employees to minimise the risks they face wherever possible.

Where an employer has not done so, and a hairdresser is injured or develops an illness, allergic reaction or other condition as a result, the member of staff may be able to make a claim.

A physical occupation

As they cut and style hair, hairdressers often perform highly repetitive tasks while maintaining awkward postures. This may lead to the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMRSDs), particularly:

In addition, standing on hard floors for long periods puts stress through the feet, knees and lower back muscles, resulting in pain and stiffness in the knee, ankle and hip joints.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers with more than 5 employees have a duty to assess the risks of WRMSDs so that the necessary preventive and protective measures can be identified and addressed.

Potentially risky equipment

Heat-styling electrical tools such as hairdryers, curling tongs and straighteners all carry risks. If not properly maintained and checked for defects they may overheat, increasing the risk of burns injuries.

The salon's health and safety procedures should insist that the equipment be switched off when not in use. 

There is also a risk of electric shock where electrical equipment is used near water, and salons should be arranged so that all such equipment is at a safe distance from basins.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require that work equipment is suitable and safe for the work carried out and does not pose any health or safety risk.

Employers must consider the working conditions and work-place risks when selecting equipment; making sure it suitable for its intended use and used with suitable safety measures. It must be properly maintained and inspected as necessary; with employees given adequate information, instruction and training prior to using the equipment. 

Exposure to substances hazardous to health

Hairdressers are exposed to many hazardous agents in the workplace, including vapours, solvents, perfumes and dusts. These factors may cause adverse health effects, particularly respiratory (lung) and dermatological (skin) conditions. 

Studies have shown an excess risk of developing occupational asthma, rhinitis and other respiratory diseases including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, alveolitis and reduced lung function. These conditions may develop over a period of time depending on whether they are caused by an allergic reaction or chronic irritation.

Dermatitis

Up to 70% of hairdressers sustain work-related skin damage, especially to the hands.

Allergic contact dermatitis is the most common disorder, but burns from chemicals such as bleaches and hair dyes may also occur.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations require that all workers, including hairdressers, are protected from exposure to chemicals and other harmful substances in the workplace. They recommend that employers should use alternatives to harmful chemicals wherever possible, meaning employers must assess the health risks which come from those chemicals and take steps to prevent or control exposure.

The employer should also, wherever appropriate, monitor the hairdressers' exposure and properly inform, instruct and train their employees to deal with harmful chemicals

In addition, employers, the self-employed and those in control of work premises have a duty under Report of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) to report if any of the following occur:

  • A death or major injury such as a chemical burn to the eye
  • An injury that lasts over three days e.g. a serious cut from a razor or scissors
  • Disease, e.g. occupational dermatitis, or

Many hairdressers use protective gloves to protect their skin from chemicals and frequent water exposure. Latex based gloves may also cause latex allergy reactions such as asthma and eczema, so it may be preferable for an employer to provide synthetic gloves made of vinyl or nitrile as an alternative.

Slip and trip accidents

Injuries caused by slips, trips and falls (particular hazards include wet floors, hair clippings and electrical wires) - may all be prevented by implementing a robust health and safety culture and policy, including regular checks and cleaning schedules.

Where a schedule of regular checks is not in place, or the checks are not properly carried out, and a member of staff or patron is injured as a result, it is more likely that the owner of the salon will be found to be negligent.
  

No Win, No Fee agreements and hairdresser injury compensation claims

A No Win, No Fee agreement, or CFA (Conditional Fee Agreement), forms the beginning of almost all personal injury claims.

Your CFA lays out a contract between you and your injury lawyer.

The document sets out the service your solicitor will deliver and a percentage-based "success fee" to be deducted from your damages when your lawyer wins your claim.

Choosing a Quittance personal injury solicitor, you are able to focus on your recovery, with the knowledge that that you will never be out of pocket.

What should you do next?

Find more answers online without being required to pick up the phone. Find more frequently asked questions here.

Start your injury claim

When you have made the decision to proceed, you can begin your personal injury claim by phoning 0800 612 7456 (0333 344 6575 from mobiles) or using Quittance's online contact form.

Would you like to ask any other questions? Our solicitors can help

If you have further questions or would like to discuss your options with an injury lawyer before making a decision, request a callback or phone on 0800 612 7456.