When you think of starting a career as a nail technician, it is unlikely that the first thought to cross your mind would be the health risks associated to the chemicals used in Nail Bars on a daily basis. However, before you let your creative juices start to flow and design the decorations and effects that you can provide potential clients; you need to seriously consider the potential health risks involved when working with chemicals used in Nail Bars, and draw up a strategy to deal with them.
Health and Safety Authority inspections
The Health and Safety Authority carried out a number of inspections in the Nail Bar sector in 2017. In their ensuing report they stated:
“Findings from the Nail Bar inspections indicated a poor understanding of the chemical safety and health risks associated with nail bar products and their potential to cause ill health to employees.”
The products used in Nail Bars contain chemicals that can cause a whole range of problems.
- The increase in the application of acrylic nails has the potential to give rise dermatitis and other allergic reactions.
- Skin sensitisation and chemical burns to the skin and eyes are possible.
- The fumes from the acrylic products can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and irritation.
There are other chemicals used in Nail Bars that have the ability to cause even more serious problems.
- Formaldehyde, found in nail strengthening products, may cause cancer and is suspected of causing birth defects.
- Toluene, present in some nail polishes, is suspected of causing fertility problems.
Create a safe environment for those working with the chemicals used in Nail Bars
In order to create a safer working environment for yourself and any employees, it is vital that you implement the following steps. (Please note that this list is not exhaustive – more information is available from Mackin Consultancy).
- Prepare a safety statement and a chemical risk statement.
- Inventory all of your products and familiarise yourself with them.
- Make sure you comply with all warning labels for safe use on product packaging and leaflets.
- Follow all manufacturers’ instructions for safe use of products – ensure all of the staff members receive this information.
- Where possible, use products that are less toxic.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using UV and LED lights.
- Make sure you use gloves – Keep products off your hands, and clean spills straightaway.
- Do not use latex gloves to avoid possible allergic reaction – dispose of gloves after each use.
- Wash hands often, and especially after each client.
- Ensure that there is proper ventilation to avoid build up of airborne chemicals and dust.
- Use extraction hoods over each workstation.
- Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Store chemicals properly and in small quantities.
- Use bins with tight fitting lids to prevent the escape of chemical fumes from swabs, etc.