Hairdressing health and safety basics


As professions go, using hairdressing scissors would not rank very highly on the list of most dangerous career choices. The stylist would not have to contend with the potential loss to life and limb that might occur while commercial fishing or mining for example. This is not to say that the working day of a hairdresser is not without its challenges. Working with hairdressing scissors, particularly scissors at optimal sharpness can result in nasty cuts, even in experienced hands. It is common in salons to see the stylist who has become accustomed to using dull scissors and then had their scissors sharpened professionally, or has purchased a new set of scissors, reaching for a band aid as a small lapse in concentration results in a nicked finger.
However, a far more serious and unfortunately common issue for hair stylists can be the issue of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). This cover all term refers to a range of specific conditions such as golfers elbow, tennis elbow, and of particular relevance to the hairdressing trade, Carpal tunnel syndrome. This painful condition, linked to professions which involve high levels of wrist movement or gripping, is common among knitters, butchers, and hairdressers among others. Symptoms include tingling in the thumb and/or fingers. Further advanced cases can demonstrate numbness in the fingers, and a loss of manual dexterity. The end result of this is at best a discomfort while cutting hair, or indeed a complete rest from the aggravating activity, which in the stylist’s case will mean time off work and the accompanying problems that brings.
As the saying goes “prevention is better than cure” and there are some hairdressing safety basic steps the hair stylist can take to ensure he/she doesn’t have to deal with this painful affliction. Chief amongst these is by using sharp scissors. Blunt scissors require more force to operate, which will over time be reflected in wear and tear in the wrist area. Choosing scissors with an offset handle can help align the shoulders and wrist in a manner which is less stressful to the body. At Scissorfix, we can assist in choosing a pair of scissors which is suitable for the stylist, and with our sharpening service, we have the technology to ensure that they remain in the condition which will reduce the chance of Repetitive Strain Injury occurring. Of course, as a downside, the stylist may have to ensure there is a healthy supply of band aids in the salon!