The field of hair, beauty and aesthetics has grown immensely over recent years with the development of more and more products and processes designed to meet the increasingly demanding needs of customers who want to improve the way they look and feel.
It can be immensely rewarding and satisfying work, bringing much joy to your customers. However, hand in hand with the expansion of services is the increasingly high risks attached to them. By their very nature, these are personal and emotive treatments and if things go wrong it can lead to a physically or emotionally traumatic outcome. Naturally, the insurer needs to know that your working practices are of a high standard and that you take reasonable measures to protect yourself. Therefore, you will often find certain conditions stated in the Business Practice Definition which you must comply with. The following are recommended anyway, even when not specifically stipulated.
Nothing can prevent a genuine accident – the truth is that sometimes things just go wrong! But it is important that you do everything you can to minimise the dangers to protect yourself and your customer. This includes checking the terms of your insurance and complying with the 'good practice' requirements stipulated, as well as those you know to be specific to your work.
Only carry out work for which you are fully trained, qualified and competent. Never be tempted to do something you know you shouldn’t, even with the best intentions of being kind and helpful to your customers or colleagues. All the Business Practices we cover have a definition attached (see our What We Cover page) and within that it will state the level of competence, training or qualification you must have in order for your insurance coverage to be valid.
In today's environment the need for high standards of cleanliness and hygiene exist more than ever. Always ensure you comply with any industry specific or government guidelines in place.
Many treatments require a Skin Patch Test and you may find that this is a condition attached to your insurance – check the wording! Even if it’s not stated, you should always carry out such a test prior to any treatment that could lead to an adverse reaction.
Prior to conducting the Skin Patch Test the customer should be advised of the risks and sign a Waiver Form. (Read more about this below)
This Skin Patch Test should be carried out on the client at least 24 hours prior to such treatment and treatment commenced only where no adverse reaction occurred. However, where a client refuses to undergo a patch test, you should obtain a waiver form signed by the client detailing their refusal and understanding of the risks associated. The waiver form must be recorded on the client’s treatment files during the period of insurance.
Due to the COVID19 Pandemic some practitioners are choosing to enable their customers to conduct the Skin Patch Test at home to minimise visits to the salon. This is acceptable provided that the following protocols are followed:
- the patch test kit is sent out via courier or first class Royal Mail
- included are clear instructions on how to carry out the patch test
- the test is done at least 24 hours before the treatment
- prior to the treatment the customer must sign a waiver to say they have carried out the test and there were no adverse reactions.
Patch tests should be carried out with every new person, and every existing customer whenever a new product or procedure is to be carried out, and periodically as per industry guidelines. It is also advisable to conduct a patch test if the customer has since received a covid vaccination.
Many practitioners like to take ‘before and after’ photos for promotional purposes, but there is a much more serious reason for taking them. For certain treatments this is a condition of your insurance and in many situations is just good practice anyway. Check your policy wording.
Photographs should be stored on the client’s file during the period of insurance.
Where needles or sharp instruments are used in the performance of your business, you need to maintain and distribute to all relevant employees an up-to-date copy of your Needle Stick Injury (or Sharps) Policy and Procedure document and where applicable provide full training on this subject. Attendance at such training must be evidenced in writing and stored on all employee files.
IMPORTANT: The process of obtaining relevant health information, advising your customer of the possible risks associated with the treatment they want, and getting signed Agreement that they have received this information and accept the risks is really important! Forms must be signed in person by the client and held on file.
A waiver is a document that obtains written confirmation that your customer is relinquishing a right or privilege. This ‘waiver’ minimises the risk of legal implications if a customer or client gets injured, however, waivers can be used in a variety of situations. A waiver will generally inform the signer of the rights that they are relinquishing and will often require the individual to sign and print their name at the bottom of the form, in addition to providing the date. By signing and dating the document, the individual states that he or she clearly understands and agrees to the relinquishment of their rights.
There are many variations of Agreements/Waiver Forms but some of the key points it should contain are:
- confirmation that they have provided full and accurate disclosure of existing conditions etc
- details of the treatment to be carried out (patch test or full treatment)
- a list of the contra-indications that would prevent having the treatment (if form for patch test)
- information about the potential risks (this may include things like allergic reactions, hospitalisation, permanent disfigurement or even death)
- a section confirming that the customer has had a patch test (if relevant) and has had no adverse reaction, or that they were offered a patch test but refused it
- a paragraph stating that they ‘waive’ their right to take legal action against you
If you are highly experienced and good at what you do, it can be easy to think that nothing will go wrong. Unfortunately, that may not be true, so the best advice is to follow good practice and be insured.
Click here to see the full list of business practices we cover in the hair, beauty and aesthetics arena
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