Depending on the size of your salon business, it may mean that at particular points during the working day, your salon staff have to work alone. The same applies if you’re a mobile hairdresser or therapist – at times, you may be working 1-2-1 with a client without anyone else present.

In today’s article we’re sharing our best advice on how to ensure you and/or your salon staff stay safe when they work alone or with clients for the first time. We’ve also enlisted the help of BABTAC nail technician of the year and professional beauty awards winner 2018, Katie Barnes of the Katie Barnes Academy to share her thoughts on the topic.

Katie, what advice can you give to someone working alone in a salon?

When working in the beauty  industry, therapists tend to be predominately women which can be more of a concern when working alone. I recommend there to always be at least two people present in a salon at any one time.  Firstly, for the personal safety of the therapists, especially when doing what can be considered intimate treatments such as massage, on first time customers.

It can also be recommended to have a safe word, alarms in the room and always ensure a mobile telephone on your person on silent.  This is also for the safety of the therapist and customers in the event of an accident or emergency. Whilst it is not legislation, if you have less than 5 employees to have a first aid trained member of staff, it is good practice to ensure that at least one member of staff on duty is always first aid trained.

Have you ever heard of any instances where a therapist has had trouble when working alone?

I have heard of therapists that have experienced incidents with male customers expecting a non-professional service.  The best way to deal with this, is remain calm and professional but be firm about the treatment that will be provided.  If you do not feel comfortable treating the customer, inform management and politely ask the customer to leave.

When working mobile, to ensure safety, always ensure somewhere knows where you are at all times, whether this be providing someone with a copy of your diary or having a location finder set on your phone, so your location can be tracked.

Salon staff performing treatments alone…

Here at Salons Direct, where possible, we always recommend working in pairs and if you have to work on your own, always let somebody know where you are and who you’re with.

When it comes to salon staff performing treatments for the first time on their own, it’s important to be sure that they are able to provide a high level of service while being confident that they can handle any number of client experiences.

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What aspects of nail treatment require the most guidance?

I think this varies from individual to individual as what one tech might consider easy, another may need more guidance. In general, I would say the most difficult nail treatment to master is L&P acrylic enhancements.  There are a lot of elements to ensure this treatment is carried out safely and correctly from understanding the chemistry and bead pick up; correct form or tip fitting, product control and an understanding of the safety and application near the skin.

Without constant practice of all of these elements, you cannot improve. It can be too easy to pick up bad habits from YouTube videos and social media which are important to curb as quickly as possible.

How do you steer your academy trainee technicians when they’re first starting out?

As well as being able to perform the treatment to an adequate standard, it is also paramount to be confident that trainee techs entering the industry with competent knowledge in anatomy and physiology, health and safety and the workings of business and a salon.

All these elements are covered in training and advice and support is given to students on setting up their own business or preparing for interviews.  Students must have a full understanding of COSHH, MSDS sheets and the importance of insurance and consultation forms as well as all the latest legislation.

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