Hygiene, health & safety

Maintaining a high standard of hygiene as a therapist is essential. Not only from a health and safety perspective, but clients will not return if the salon, treatment area, or equipment are not clean.  It is vital therefore to ensure that we provide a safe environment for clients.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty on employers and the self-employed to protect the health and safety of themselves and others they employ, this also includes our clients.

A hazard is anything that can cause harm

Hazards therapist need to be aware of:

  • RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) 1995
  • Moving & Handing of heavy loads or objects
  • First aid training
  • Ensure PPE (Personal Protective Clothing) is available and utilised where necessary using hazardous substances, materials or chemicals, especially those which can affect the skin.

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Reporting Accidents and Incidents

The reporting of all accidents/incidents should be recorded in the accident book, which should be kept with a first aid kit on the premises.

The following information should be recorded:

  • Full name and address of person(s) involved
  • Circumstances of accident/incident
  • Date & time of accident/incident
  • Details of any contributing factors

Salon/Treatment area hygiene

  • Clean the salon thoroughly daily
  • Clean the treatment area before and after every client
  • Use clean fresh towels for each client (dirty linen must be laundered at a minimum of 60°)
  • Creams, lotions and sprays should be dispensed from purpose-specific pump or spray bottles where possible, otherwise use a clean disposable spatula to remove products from bottles/jars.
  • Replace all lids after removing products from the bottles/jars.
  • Sterilise all tools
  • Empty bins and dispose of contents accordingly
  • Check all plugs and wires on electrical equipment and make sure they conform to British Standards.
  • Make sure all fire exits are clear and accessible
  • Protect client’s clothing by using towels.
  • Store products safely and in accordance with safety data sheets

There is a legal requirement to provide a safe environment for staff and clients who may be using your premises. Carrying out a risk assessment will identify any hazards, which is a situation that poses a level of threat or potential harm. If there is a hazard it is important to put controls in place to minimise the risk. Sensible measures need to be auctioned to reduce the hazard to provide a safe working practice.

It is important that risks are minimised and that all staff are trained in the event of an accident. There are some potential Salon hazards that will require a risk assessment, such as the Salon space, any chemicals being used, any equipment used and the security of clients and money.

Sterilising Equipment

Micro-organisms that may cause disease must be controlled through cleaning, sanitation, sterilisation or disinfection.


Reduces the number of pathogen bacteria. The lowest form of decontamination and is safe to use on the skin. This process removes dust, dirt and organic matter along with a large proportion of micro-organisms from an object.

Sanitation is essential before sterilisation or disinfection, the process is carried out by applying sanitising sprays, soaps or gels directly onto the skin, equipment or instruments.


Kills all living organisms.

Several ways to sterilise the equipment:

UV light

An enclosed steel cabinet that emits UV light when closed to kill off any bacteria.

Works by heating water under pressure to 100° which kills all germs.

Barbicide (Chemical sterilisation) 

Liquid used to soak instruments; ammonia can be used as the liquid within the barbicide.


This greatly reduces pathogenic bacteria on work surfaces, this method is not suitable for skin, hair or nails. Disinfection is used on floors, work surfaces, work stations, walls, bowls.

Methods of hygiene and sterilising for specific tools

  • Towels – 60° minimum laundry wash
  • Massage chair/couch – wiped down with surgical spirit after each client.
  • Bed roll – disposed in bin

Professional Ethics & Standards of Practice

For some students this is the beginning of your journey as a professional therapist. It is important to learn any therapy correctly but more importantly strive to become a great therapist.

A therapist should:

  • maintain the highest standard of professional conduct, conduct herself/himself in a professional, honest and ethical manner. Dress appropriately with hair tied back, always wash your hands before and after giving a treatment – avoid soap with a strong scent.
  • ensure clients comfort, safety, privacy and confidentiality at all times.                  
  • keep all records of treatments complete and up to date. Discuss and record any health problems, contra-indication or symptoms.                                                               
  • full professional treatment with aftercare advice.                                                         
  • treatment room should be welcoming and relaxing, putting your clients at ease. The room should be warm enough for the client and well ventilated.

The practice of good ethics is essential to the reputation of the field of beauty therapists and the welfare of the clients and practitioners of the therapies. The following is a statement of standards and ethics for therapists, including standards of ethical and proper behaviour. 

A Therapist will:  

  • take a full medical history on the client’s first visit.
  • use this information to decide whether treatment is suitable for the client. 
  • explain the treatment to the client.
  • on the client’s next visit, discuss and record any changes that they may have noticed in their symptoms.
  • refer the client to their GP if necessary.

A Therapist should: 

  • be comfortable touching people.
  • be a good communicator, able to explain treatments to clients and ask appropriate questions.
  • have good listening skills.
  • be able to make clients feel relaxed and comfortable.
  • have empathy with clients.
  • be able to respect professional boundaries.
  • know when to advise clients to seek conventional medical advice.
  • respect confidentiality.

The above information is intended for guidance purposes only to introduce students & therapists to the principles of H&S and encourage them to think about their own working environment and working practices.