The two most common types of hazards in the nail salon are chemical and biological hazards. In this module you will be introduced to these hazards and how to reduce exposure to them.
Products used in nail salons may contain chemicals that can affect worker health. Using these products can expose nail salon workers to chemicals. Workers may breathe in the harmful vapors, dusts, or mists; get the product on their skin or in their eyes; or swallow the product if it is accidentally transferred onto food or cigarettes.
Chemicals affect different people in different ways. Many factors play a part in whether you get sick from contact with chemicals, including
Chemicals are absorbed into the body through four primary routes of entry:
Exposures can "add up," especially when many products are being used at the same time, when the products are used day after day, or when there is poor ventilation in the salon. You can get sick right away (acute affects), or you can get sick over time (chronic affects). If you use chemicals all day, every day, you are more likely to get sick than someone who uses the same chemicals once in a while.
Working in a nail salon exposes workers to many different chemicals each day.
These exposures can "add up," causing illness, especially when products are:
Many nail salon workers also work long hours, which adds to the amount of time they may be exposed to chemicals. These types of exposures may make workers sick immediately (acute illnesses) or cause effects over a long period of time (chronic illnesses).
Some potentially hazardous chemicals, the types of products they can be found in, and how they can affect your body include:
Report any health problems you think are from the products you use in the workplace to your employer and doctor. Employers must follow up on reports of health problems from workers.
At minimum, professional-use nail salon products containing hazardous chemicals must provide the following information:
You can get valuable information on the characteristics and hazards of each chemical in nail salon products by checking the chemical's safety data sheet (SDS). Another excellent resource to find information on hazardous chemicals is the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Hazardous Chemicals.
OSHA requires product manufacturers to provide salon owners with SDSs for the products they buy that contain hazardous chemicals.
Employers must make these SDSs available to you. Your employer must also train you so you understand the chemical's potential hazards and how to use the products safely. In general, an SDS must provide the following information:
All information is presented in a common 16-section format. This can help you compare the differences in hazards between products.
Be aware SDSs may not contain all the information needed to help protect you. For example, the manufacturer may state that you should wear "impervious gloves," but not specify the type.
For more information on SDSs and hazardous chemicals, please see OSHAcademy course 705 Hazard Communication Program.
Biological hazards include primarily bloodborne pathogens, bacteria, fungi, and other viruses.
Since it's possible to be exposed to human blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) while working in the nail salon, it's important to use safe work practices (see Module 2) to eliminate or reduce that exposure. The infectious bloodborne pathogens to which you may be exposed include:
You can also be exposed to fungal infections of the nails and feet by touching a client’s infected skin or by using equipment that has not been cleaned.
Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.
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