Covid-19 Risk Assessments
Health and Safety Covid-19 Risk Assessment
As of July 9th, the United Kingdom, Government has updated its official guidelines for Beauty Salons, Spas, Nail Bars, Make-up Artists and Mobile/Home-based Therapists in England on how to safely reopen their businesses post-Covid-19.
After the announcement, beauty salons and spas can open on July 13th, the “Keeping workers and clients safe during Covid-19 in close contact services: Covid-19 secure guidance for employers, employees and the self-employed” by providing information to help therapists restart their business during the pandemic.
The Government has stated that the document will be updated over time.The government defines close contact services as “hairdressing, barbershops, beauty, tattoo, spray tanning studios, spas, sports,massage therapy and holistic wellbeing.
This guidance is also designed for those who provide mobile close contact services from their homes and in other people’s homes.”Read the Government’s full guidance document on close contact services. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services
The guide also states that treatment times should be kept as short as possible. "Businesses should consider providing shorter, more basic treatments to keep the time to a minimum, or offering alternative treatments including tutorials to clients where services/treatments cannot be provided, for example applying make-up or doing a facial.
How to conduct the first step of the Government’s Covid-19 guidance for the beauty businesses – the risk assessment?
To help beauty businesses decide which actions to take, they must first carry out an appropriate Covid-19 risk assessment, “Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of Covid-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of Covid-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law,” It also states in the report. You must publish them on your website and also need to demonstrate to clients that you have properly assessed the risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate this by displaying a notification in a prominent place in your business.
The measures taken to manage risk in order of priority, are:
Ensuring both therapists and clients who feel unwell must stay at home and do not attend the premises.
Increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
Make every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the Government (social distancing by 2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable)
Clearly, when providing close contact services, it often may not be possible to maintain social distancing guidelines. As a result, personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of a visor will be required to mitigate the risk. Further mitigating actions include:
Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
Using screens or barriers to separate clients from one another. If the practitioner is wearing a visor, screens will not provide additional protection between the practitioner and the individual. Everyone working in close proximity for an extended period of time must wear a visor.( however this ruling does not apply at the clinic, as there is only the one client and one therapist within the establishment during treatment times).
Finally treatments which require the therapist to be within the "highest risk zone" of clients (defined as the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth, that may not be visible, can be present and pose a hazard), for the entire duration or the majority of the time the service is being provided, should not be resumed unless they can be adapted in line with this guidance to make them safe (for example, by moving out of the highest risk zone and wearing a visor). However new government guidelines have stated, “wearing face coverings is not mandatory in venues that have measures in place to protect the staff and public from Covid-19”.
What measures will I need to take in the salon/spa to keep clients safe?
The updated guidelines state that you should be: "Making clients aware of, and encouraging compliance with, limits on gatherings. For example, on arrival or at booking. Indoor gatherings are limited to members of any 2 households (or support bubbles), while outdoor gatherings are limited to members of any 2 households (or support bubbles), or a group of at most 6 people from any number of households."
The updated document provides new advice on ventilation, including:
Increasing the existing ventilation rate by running fans on full speed.
Operating the ventilation system 24 hours a day.
Increase the frequency of filter changes.
Keeping doors and windows open if possible.
The opening up of the economy following the Covid-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your clients and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks
All premises should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting.
Encouraging clients to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises or before treatment
Calculating the maximum number of clients that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) and limiting the number of appointments at any one time. Take into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
Informing clients and contractors of guidance about visiting the premises prior to and at the point of arrival, including information on websites, on booking forms and in entrance ways.
Adjusting how people move through the premises to reduce congestion and contact( this is achieved by seeing one client at a time,and having 30 minutes intervals between treatments.
Minimising contact between different workers while performing a service on a client
Operating an appointment-only system
Encouraging clients to arrive at the time of their scheduled appointment and maintaining social distancing in waiting areas – which is done on a “one-in-one-out” policy
Reviewing working practices to minimise the duration of contact with the client, and where extended treatments are undertaken, consider how the length of appointment could be minimised.
Covid-19 related questions to be asked of clients’ ahead of their appointment: have you had the recent onset of a new continuous cough? Do you have a high temperature? Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell? If clients have had any of these symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home.
Full measures on the steps you will need to take with customer toilets can be found on page 15 of the document.
Providing clear guidance on expected client behaviours, social distancing and hygiene to people before arrival, when scheduling their appointment, and on arrival, for example, with signage and visual aids. Explaining to clients that failure to observe safety measures will result in services not being provided.
How to maintain social distancing for workers in the business?
You need to“ensure workers maintain social distancing guidelines wherever possible, including while arriving at and departing from work and while in work,” states the report. Mitigating actions include:
Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
Using screens or barriers to separate clients from one another. If the practitioner is wearing a visor, screens will not provide additional protection between the practitioner and the individual
Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) where possible
Using a consistent pairing system if workers have to be in close proximity
Maintaining social distancing between the treatment or service areas, such as client chairs.
Social distancing applies to all parts of a business or home, not just the treatment room, but waiting rooms, corridors and staircases too.
Stagger arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding in and out of the workplace and provide additional parking or bike racks to help people cycle or drive to work
Reduce congestion by having more entry points to the workplace, where possible
Provide hand washing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at entry and exit points.
Avoid overrunning or overlapping appointments and minimise contacts around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments where possible
Minimising how frequently equipment is shared between workers, frequently cleaning between use and assigning to an individual where possible
Use disposable items where possible, for example, nail files, and ensuring non-disposable items are cleaned between clients
Encouraging workers to bring their own food and drinks, and not allowing food and drink to be consumed in the salon by clients other than water in disposable cups or bottles
Only the client should be present in the same room for appointments taking place in the home.
Measures to take to keep the workplace clean:
Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels
Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however, where systems serve multiple buildings, or you are unsure, advice should be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers
Spacing appointments to allow for frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products
Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including door handles or staff handheld devices, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products
Do not provide reading materials such as magazines in client waiting areas
Sanitising any reusable equipment, including client chairs, treatment beds, and equipment, such as scissors used after each appointment, and at the start and end of shifts
Using disposable gowns for each client. Where this is not possible, use separate gowns (and towels in the normal way) for each client, washing between use and disposing appropriately as required
Maintaining good ventilation in the work environment, for example, keeping windows or doors open
Where shower and changing facilities are required, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that social distancing is achieved as much as possible
Considering not opening client changing rooms, unless absolutely necessary
What PPE you will need to use in your beauty businesses?
“In workplaces such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons and tattoo and photoshoot studios, it is likely to be difficult to maintain social distancing, as employees need to work in close proximity to their clients, usually for an extended period of time,” states the document.
“The person providing a service should therefore wear further protection in addition to any that they might usually wear. This should take the form of a clear visor that covers the face and provides a barrier between the wearer and the client from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking. Visors must fit the user and be worn properly. It should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face.”
Both disposable and reusable visors are available. A re-usable visor must be cleaned and sanitised regularly using normal cleaning products
There is no requirement for the client to wear any additional protection such as a mask or face covering, when the practitioner is wearing a visor
Services which require workers to be within the "highest risk zone" of clients (defined as the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth, that may not be visible, can be present and pose a hazard from the client to the practitioner and vice versa), for the entire duration or the majority of the time the service is being provided (such as eyelash extensions), should not be resumed unless they can be adapted in line with this guidance to make them safe (for example, by moving out of the highest risk zone and wearing a visor)
There may be some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. However, face coverings are not an alternative to wearing a visor in close contact services
Read the Government’s guidelines “Keeping workers and clients safe during COVID-19 in close contact services – COVID-19 secure guidance for employers, employees and the self- employed.