40 June 2014 © Skin Inc. www.SkinInc.com
filled with examples just like this one, in which one or
more of those things really did occur. The skin care
profession is not immune to safety issues.
What do you need to know?
Following is an overview of key areas that must be
addressed to create a functional risk management plan.
Be educated about every service on the treatment
menu. If skin care professionals have not been trained
on a modality, they should refrain from performing
it. Once trained, they should practice several times on
live models, as well as experience the treatment once
themselves, before performing it on a paying client.
This allows for the professional to have first-hand
knowledge of what it’s like to receive the service.
Many professional malpractice claims occur due to
mistakes that occur during the service, as well as lack
of correct follow-up with the client.
Understand Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) requirements. OSHA
standards are not just for factories and hospitals. There
are three key standards that every skin care facility
owner must abide by.
1. Hazard communication standard. 1 This is the
standard that covers your requirement to keep Safety
Data Sheets (SDSs)—formerly known as Material Safety
Data Sheets—in which information on hazardous
chemicals used in the facility are communicated in
a 16-section format. 2 Independent contractors do not
have a good chance of OSHA knocking on their door
for an inspection, but it is still important to have SDSs
accessible for every product you use.
SDSs provide the possible physical, health and
environmental health hazards of your facility, as
well as safety precautions for handling, storing and
transporting chemical hazards. They also inform about
the steps required in case of an emergency.
2. Formaldehyde standard. 3 Think of this as the
ventilation standard. The focus is formaldehyde and
materials that release it. In esthetics, exposure may occur
when a treatment room is located near other services that
include products that release formaldehyde. The bottom
line—having adequate ventilation is an absolute necessity.
Skin care professionals deal with many chemicals
every day, even when using natural products. Exposure
can be cumulative and, considering estheticians may be
in the treatment room an average of 6–8 hours a day, this
standard is put into place for their protection.
3. Bloodborne pathogen standard. 4 Skin care
professionals may also know this standard as “universal
precautions.” It was created to protect workers from
the transmission of bloodborne diseases. This standard
addresses how to dispose of contaminated sharps,
procedures for decontamination, types of pathogens,
modes of transmission, and proper disposal.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA),
HIV and other pathogens are more common than you
may think. Estheticians and clients can be exposed to
them without their knowledge.
Create a risk management plan. A good risk
management plan includes electrical and fire safety
procedures, first-aid procedures and emergency contact
The phrase “accidents happen” applies here. Is there
a fire extinguisher in the treatment rooms, or one that is
easily accessible nearby? What about a first-aid kit? Are
there multiple extension cords in the room for equipment
that may be overloading circuits? These are all issues
that can cause a tremendous amount of damage and may
harm your team and your clients.
Create a professional safety tool kit. A tool kit is
useful no matter the profession. Some examples of items
to include are an extractor tool, nitrile gloves, a Wood’s
lamp, disposable lancets and a sharps disposal box.
Stay up-to-date on immunizations. This should be
discussed with your physician. Getting immunizations
is a personal decision, but one which should be looked at
closely, based on your health and public exposure.
The recent H1N1 flu virus pandemic is a good
example of how valuable a flu shot can be for some. For
a person who is at greater risk due to age or other health
conditions, immunizations may be mandatory.
Practice stress-reduction. Reducing stress is
important for risk management, because chronic stress
decreases the ability to think clearly, among its other
health effects. Mistakes are more likely to occur when
professionals are exhausted and stressed out.