Infection can occur during hairdressing procedures. Items such as razors, combs, clippers and hairpins can accidentally penetrate the skin. Blood and body fluids do not have to be visible on instruments, equipment or working surfaces for infection to be transmitted. Both clients and operators may be at risk.
Operators should ask clients if they have skin lesions such as prominent moles and require them to specify the location, so appropriate care can be taken. If hairdressing premises perform other personal care and body decorating procedures, including skin penetration, then the operators must comply with the NSW Health Departments Skin Penetration Guidelines.
Infections that can be spread in hairdressing premises include skin infections on the scalp, face and neck such as impetigo (also known as school sores) and fungal infections such as tinea capitis and ringworm. These infections can spread when instruments and equipment used on clients are not cleaned between clients sessions or are not handled or used a hygienic manner, and when structural facilities such as furnishings and fittings are not kept clean and in good repair.
The risk of transmitting a serious disease such as hepatitis B and HIV can occur when using razors or scissors, which can abrade the skin and/or cut accidentally. Contaminated instruments can transfer infection directly to the blood of another individual (for example, the operator or next client) if that individual has open cuts,sores or broken skin.
Burns can occur during hairdressing procedures involving hot rollers, tongs and crimpers. They can also occur when hair is being washed with water that is too hot or when stationary or hand-held dryers are improperly used.
Pediculosis (Head Lice)
People get head lice from direct hair-to hair contact with someone who has head lice. Head lice do not transmit any infectious diseases and there is no evidence to suggest that the environment is of significant concern in their transmission. They are fragile insects, easily killed by water temperatures greater than 60c. No disinfection or fumigation of the salon is required.
General Hairdressing Equipment
Use and Disposal of Razors and Blade
All razors are considered to be contaminated with blood, body fluids or substances after use. Routine cleaning of razors blades is not adequate to minimise the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases. The safest and most efficient way of preventing the spread of these diseases is to use single-use items.
Single Use (disposable) Razors
If the razor is a single-use type, then it must not be used again on another client and must be disposed of into a sharps container immediately after use.
Single Use (disposable) Blades
Where a safety type razor is used, remove the blade from the razor body, taking care not to cut yourself. Dispose of the blade as above. The blade holder must be cleaned and disinfected between clients. If contaminated, it must be sterilised or disposed of. Do not use the body of the razor again until these measure have been taken.
Electric razor blades are considered contaminated with blood, body fluids or substances after use in the same way that razors and blades are contaminated. The blades, mesh and the blade mechanism housing are difficult to clean and will not withstand the sterilisation process. This difficulty is due to their design and the materials from which they are made. Debris from shaving such as blood, hair and skin cells have been found in the body and motor of electric razors. Electric razors are therefore not recommended for use on clients and should not be loaned to clients.
Razors should be used so the operator can see the blade at all times. Blades may scrape the skin and become contaminated. Razor blades used for hair cutting should be changed after each client, and the blade should be disposed of into a sharps container. The handle should be washed and dried after the blade has been removed; if contaminated, it also requires sterilisation.
Clippers should be used in such a way that the operator can see the tip of the clippers at all times. Clippers, including those with plastic attachments, should be dismantled after each use and thoroughly cleaned before being used on another client. If contamination occurs, then the clipper blades must be dismantled, cleaned and sterilised. Plastic attachments must be disposed of into a sharps container.
Cleaning and Sterilisation of Hairdressing Equipment
The use of disinfection products requires operators to apply these solutions in strict accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Due to the inappropriate use of disinfection products in the past the use of disinfecting solutions is not recommended.
The table below provides a guide on cleaning requirements for equipment commonly used in the hairdressing industry.
|Singe-use razors||After each client||Dispose of into a sharps container|
|Safety razors||After each client||Dispose of blade into a sharps container. Wash handle in warm water & detergent. Rinse in hot running water. Dry with lint-free cloth. If contaminated sterilise or dispose of into a sharps container.|
|Electric razors||Do not use|
|Shaving brushes||After each client||Rinse free of hair & shaving cream. Wash in warm water & detergent. Rinse in hot running water. Dry thoroughly.|
|Scissors & Clippers||After each client||Use lint-free cloth to remove hair. Wash in warm water & detergent. Rinse in hot running water. Dry with lint-free cloth.|
|Haircutting razors||After each client||Sterilise or dispose of if blood is drawn. Dispose of blades into sharps container.|
|Combs, hair brushes, hairnets, neck brushes, ear caps & hair pins / clips||After each client and when dropped on the floor||Use lint-free cloth to remove hair. Wash in warm water & detergent. Rinse in hot running water. Dry with lint-free cloth.|
|Rollers (regular, hot, hot tongs & crimpers)||After each client and when dropped on the floor||Use lint-free cloth to remove hair. Wash in warm water & detergent. Rinse in hot running water. Dry with lint-free cloth.|
|Dye mixing bowls||When empty||Wash in warm water & detergent. Rinse in hot running water. Dry with lint-free cloth.|
|Capes / Wraps||After each client unless a clean towel or paper tape is used around the neck||Wash in warm water & detergent. Rinse in hot running water. Dry according to type of material.|
|Equipment Trolley||Weekly||Use lint-free cloth to remove hair. Wash in warm water & detergent. Dry thoroughly with lint-free cloth before refilling.|
Sanitary Requirements of the Premises
- The premises must be kept in a clean and hygenic condition at all times.
- All surfaces within the salon should be made of materials that are easily cleaned
- Adequate lighting is to be provided within the salon
- A hand wash basin must be provided within the salon with warm running water and a supply of disposable paper towls and liquid soap
- An additional sink is to be provided for cleaning of equipment and surfaces. Smoking is not permitted in any part of the salon
NSW Health Fact Sheet
- Fact Sheet "Hairdressing and Barbers - hygiene standards" (Oct 2012)
- Fact Sheet "How to sterilise your instruments"
VIC Health Fact Sheet
- Head Lice Fact Sheet for Hairdressers (June 2013)
Council's Role in Regulating Hairdressing Salons
Council's Environmental Health Officers routinely inspect hairdressing salons.
The objectives of Council's inspections are:
- To ensure the health of the public is protected when they receive treatments or services from a premises;
- To ensure operators are aware of their obligations to carry out safe, clean and hygienic procedures; and
- To ensure that the premises where procedures are undertaken comply with the relevant standards
- Beauty Spot Newsletter Issue 1
Any enquiries regarding hairdressing premises or procedures can be made to Council's Public and Environmental Health Section on 02 6686 1210.