While some of the industry has been wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) since before the Covid-19 pandemic, other nail and beauty pros have only introduced PPE in the last two years which has left some people asking 'Should I wear PPE even after the pandemic?'.
The simple answer is yes. As part of your training you will have encountered COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) which requires you to wear PPE. Face masks are not the only form of PPE; gloves, aprons, goggles and face shields all help to protect you.
The requirements on what PPE you need to wear is different for each salon and technician. This is why it is important to perform a risk assessment for each business.
Probably the most important item of PPE, gloves help prevent skin irritation, allergies and protect against bacteria and viruses. A common misconception is that you only need to wear gloves when performing nail services, but it is also important to wear them when storing, disposing or dispensing products as repeat exposure to some of the ingredients in nail and cleaning products can irritate the skin causing dermatitis and even in some cases allergies.
Single use gloves must be disposed of correctly and not re worn, you can find more information on what requirements I have for my gloves and my recommendations here.
Those with respiratory conditions such as asthma may find that some products can exacerbate the problem. Even for those without a respiratory illness The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) requires masks to be worn.
This is because dust from filings can be inhaled causing wheezing, chest tightness and asthma and the vapours and fumes released from some products can also cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Therefore, HSE recommend the wearing of masks for all nail services.
If you have a dust extractor in your salon you will already be aware of just how much dust is produced in a single nail appointment and why it is important to have a mask that filters out airborne particles. A standard surgical mask will not offer the protection needed, I would recommend a FFP3 Respirator. If you're not sure what you need, any decent safety workwear company will be able to help you choose the right mask depending on your requirements.
Eye & Face Protection
There is a range of eye and face protective items:
- Full Face Shield/Visor
- Surgical Mask with Visor
- Safety Goggles/Spectacles
It's not just foreign objects, dust or product that can physically enter the eye that you need protecting from, vapours and fumes can also cause eye irritation.
Standard corrective glasses are not adequate eye protection as they have no side coverings.
You can use disposable plastic aprons to protect yourself as well as clothing or uniform from contamination. Once used they should be correctly disposed of.
If you want to find out more about HSE guidelines visit here.
It is essential that you protect yourself to ensure longevity in your career as repeated exposure can cause problems in the future.
Love Katie B x