Safety and hygiene

It is a legal requirement that therapists comply with certain regulations and important that therapists become familiar with the details of these acts.

Health and Safety Legislation Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, many substances that seem to be harmless can sometimes prove to be hazardous if incorrectly used or stored. It is the employer’s responsibility to regularly carry out a risk assessment to assess which could be a risk to health from exposure and to ensure that these are recorded.

Personal protective equipment should be provided, and staff training should be carried out if required. Hazardous substances can enter the body via Contact/Absorption, Inhalation, and Ingestion

All suppliers must legally provide guidelines on how their materials should be stored and used.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

The requirements from this act are met if you comply with the COSHH regulations. All employers must provide suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to all employees who may be exposed to any risk while at work. https://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/

The Environmental Protection Act 1990

This act states that all waste must be disposed of safely. It is important to exercise care when disposing of surplus/out of date stock and manufacturer’s guidance should be sought. If unsure ask the manufacturer to dispose of the stock for you.

Inspection and registration of premises the local authority’s Environmental Health Department enforces the Health and Safety at Work Act. The environmental health officer visits and inspects the premises. Any area of danger is identified by the inspector, and it is then the employer’s responsibility to remove the danger within a stated period. If the employer fails to comply, this then can lead to prosecution. The inspector has the authority to close the business until he or she is satisfied that all dangers to the public and employees have been removed.

The Consumer Protection Act 1987

This Act safeguards the consumer against unsafe products. The Act covers general safe handling requirements, product liability and prices that are misleading.

Professional Indemnity Insurance Health and Safety Regulations 1989.

The regulation states that if an employer has more than five employees, they must have a written health and safety policy for the establishment, and this must be available to all the staff. It must include the following information: Chemicals stored at premises, stock cupboards, Records of checks carried out by a qualified electrician on any specialist equipment, emergency evacuations routes, Names of key holders.

Consumer Protection Act 1987

This implements the European Community directive to ensure that the consumer is protected against products and services being used or sold which are unsafe. Clients that are unsatisfied may contact several organisations that deal with legal advice on consumer protection.

Equal Opportunities

The United Kingdom has equality legislation specific to protecting employees and covers the goods and services provision.

Race Relations Act 1976

This Act makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of colour, race, and nationality, ethnic or national origin.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)

This Act makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of disability. Under the DDA from 1996 as a provider of services, goods, and facilities your workplace has a duty to ensure that no clients are discriminated against on the grounds of disability. It is unlawful because of a disability to provide a service to a lesser standard or on worse terms.

From 2004, failure to make reasonable adjustments to the service premises physical features, to overcome physical barriers to access. Services can only be denied to a person who is disabled only if it is justified and other clients would be treated in the same way. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure adequate training is provided to the employees to prevent discrimination practices taking place and reasonable adjustments are made to the work place to facilitate access for people who are disabled Equal Opportunity Policy The Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) states it is best practise for all work places to have a written Equal Opportunities Policy. This will include an equal opportunity commitment by the employer and details of a structure on how the policy will be implemented.

GDPR The General data protection regulation came into force on 25th May 2018

If your Business collects or stores any type of data, you will need to comply with the GDPR, otherwise you will face financial penalties. The regulations mean that all data must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals, collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes, adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed, accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date, kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Treating Minors

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a minor is anyone under the age of 18. You should check with your insurance company regarding any guidelines on treating minors. You should also contact your local district or borough council and ask about any stipulations you need to follow regarding the Miscellaneous Provisions Act as they may vary from one council to another. The department who will be able to clarify this for you is the Licensing Department. They will also advise you about any Massage Treatment Licensing Laws. https://www.gov.uk/massage-and-special-treatment-premises-licensing

Sterilisation and sanitisation

Sterilisation is the destruction of all living micro-organisms and their spores. It can be used for metal and plastic tools and can be carried out with an autoclave, chemical sterilisers, or a glass bead steriliser. Always wash tools in warm soapy water before sterilising, to remove grease, as the sterilisation will not be effective.

Sanitisation is the destruction of some but not all micro-organisms. It inhibits their growth. It is used for many tools, surfaces, and floors.  Methods of sanitisation include UV cabinets, surgical spirit, sanitising spray and barbicide. 

You can complete an online test for this https://barbicide.com/certification/

Anatomy & Physiology

The skin is made of three general layers: epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.

The Epidermis

The epidermis is a thin layer of skin. It is the most superficial layer of skin, the layer you see with your eyes when you look at the skin anywhere on your body. Functions of the epidermis include touch sensation and protection against microorganisms.

This skin is further divided into five, separate layers. In order from most superficial to deepest, they are the:

Stratum Corneum

This layer is composed of the many dead skin cells that you shed into the environment—as a result, these cells are found in dust throughout your home. This layer helps to repel water.

Stratum Lucidum

This layer is found only on the palms of the hands, fingertips, and the soles of the feet.

Stratum Granulosum

This is the layer where part of keratin production occurs. Keratin is a protein that is the main component of skin.

Stratum Spinosum

This layer gives the skin strength as well as flexibility.

Stratum Basale

This is where the skin’s most important cells, called keratinocytes, are formed before moving up to the surface of the epidermis and being shed into the environment as dead skin cells.

This layer also contains melanocytes, the cells that are largely responsible for determining the colour of our skin and protecting our skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. These harmful effects include burns in the short term and cancer in the long run.

The Dermis

Underneath the epidermis lies the dermis. The dermis contains:

•          Blood vessels that nourish the skin with oxygen and nutrients. The blood vessels also allow immune system cells to come to the skin to fight an infection. These vessels also help carry away waste products.

•          Nerves that help us relay signals coming from the skin. These signals include touch, temperature, pressure, pain, and itching.

•          Various glands.

•          Hair follicles.

•          Collagen, a protein that is responsible for giving skin strength and a bit of elasticity.

The Subcutaneous Tissue

The deepest layer of the skin is called the subcutaneous layer, the subcutis, or the hypodermis. Like the dermis, the layer contains blood vessels and nerves for much the same reasons.

Importantly, the subcutis contains a layer of fat. This layer of fat works alongside the blood vessels to maintain an appropriate body temperature. The layer of fat here acts as a cushion against physical trauma to internal organs, muscles, and bones.

Additionally, the body will turn to this fat in times of starvation to provide power to its various processes, especially brain function

Hair Growth

There are 3 stages of hair growth:

Anagen – the active growth phase 2-6 years

Catagen – the transition stage 1-2 weeks

Telogen – the resting phase   5-6 weeks

Hair grows through the narrow and tube-like depressions in the skin called the hair follicle. The root of the hair is surrounded by the dermal papilla which has an abundant supply of blood vessels which provide nutrients to the area. New hair is formed in the papilla and created by hair germ cells. Hairs are soft at the base and eventually harden and die as they get towards the surface.

Hair is made up of 3 levels.

The outer layer, the Cuticle is a tough outer protective layer of the hair shaft. The cells are translucent so allows for the colour underneath to show through. The cells form scales that overlap each other like that of roof tiles.

The cortex lies beneath the Cuticle and is the main part of the hair. The Cortex contains the colour pigments that make up the hair colour. The cells of the Cortex contain bundles of fibres and gives the hair its strength and flexibility.

Keratin is also formed in this layer.

The middle core of the hair is called the Medulla, which is not always present, and this section does not appear to have any function.

Eyelash Function

Eyelashes are not just a pretty feature on the body; they have a specific and important function. Eyelashes are designed to prevent objects from getting in the eyes. Each eyelash is a sensory hair that reflexively shuts the eyelid whenever it is touched by dirt, dust, or anything else that could possibly get in the eye. The upper lid typically has about 90 to 150 lashes on it, while the bottom has between 70 and 80 lashes. Most eyelashes grow to be about 10 mm long (just over 3/8 inch)

Only about 40 percent of the upper lashes and 15 percent of the lower lashes are in the anagen phase at any one time. Each lash will grow to a specific length and then stop.

During the catagen phase the lash stops growing and the hair follicle shrinks. If an eyelash falls out or is plucked out during this phase, it will not grow back right away because the follicle needs to complete the catagen phase before it can move on to the next one. This phase lasts between two and three weeks.

The telogen phase can last more than 100 days before then and an eyelash falls out new one begins to grow. Because each individual lash is in its own phase of the growing cycle, it is normal for a few lashes to fall out most days. It typically takes between four and eight weeks to fully replace an eyelash.

Anatomy of the Eye

The eye is an organ that detects light and sends signals along the optic nerve to the brain. In humans, the eye is a valuable sense organ that gives us the ability to see. It allows for light perception and vision, including the ability to differentiate between colours and depth.

Although small, the eye is an overly complex organ. The eye is approximately 1 inch wide, 1 inch deep and 0.9 inches tall. The human eye has a 200-degree viewing angle and can see 10 million colours and shades. Humans have two eyes which allows us to have better depth perception and binocular stereopsis.

Cornea – The cornea is the clear, dome-like structure on the front part of the eye. The cornea delivers 2/3 of the refracting power to the eye.

Conjunctiva – The conjunctiva is a mucus membrane that covers the surface of the eye and the inner part of the eyelids.

Sclera – The sclera is the white, tough, outer covering of globe of the eye. The sclera is continuous with the cornea.

Iris – The iris is a pigmented tissue with two muscles that control pupil constriction and pupil dilation. The iris acts like a diaphragm that controls the amount of light allowed into the eye. The iris is the coloured part of the eye.

Pupil – The pupil is the hole in the middle of the iris in which light pass through to the retina. The pupil is black because the light that is allowed into the eye is absorbed in the retina.

Anterior Chamber – The anterior chamber is the fluid-filled chamber between the iris and the cornea’s inner surface which is comprised of the endothelium. Aqueous humour is the fluid that fills the anterior chamber.

Trabecular meshwork – The trabecular meshwork is a meshwork of tissue located around the base of the cornea, in the angle of the eye. The trabecular meshwork is continuous with the ciliary body. It is responsible for draining the aqueous humour into a Schlemm’s canal (drainage tubes) and into the blood system.

Crystalline Lens – The Crystalline lens delivers 1/3 of the refracting or focusing power to the eye. It is a fibrous tissue that can change shape to increase or decrease its power. Because it can change shape, it allows the eye to focus on intermediate and near objects.

Ciliary body – The Crystalline lens is attached to the ciliary body by lens zonules. The ciliary body is a muscle that can contract to change the shape of the lens. This allows humans to carefully focus on near objects. The other function of the ciliary body is to produce aqueous humour that flows into the anterior chamber.

Retina – The retina is a light-sensitive tissue that captures light energy and transfers that energy to the brain as nerve impulses.

Optic nerve – The optic nerve is a network of nerve cells which receives impulses from the nerve fibre layer on the retina. It transfers nerve impulses to the brain.