Hazard Alert for Salon Owners

04.19.2011
HR & Safety

OSHA has issued a hazard alert to hair salon owners about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with some hair smoothing and straightening products.

Responding to complaints and referrals about possible exposure to formaldehyde, federal OSHA and many state occupational safety and health agencies are conducting investigations. Connecticut’s Department of Health has already issued warnings.

The hazard alert provides information about OSHA’s investigations, the health hazards of formaldehyde, and how to protect people who are working with hair smoothing and straightening products.

Formaldehyde presents a health hazard if workers are exposed. It can irritate the eyes, and nose; cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes, and lungs; and is linked to nose and lung cancer.

To eliminate potential exposure, OSHA recommends that salon owners use products that do not contain formaldehyde, methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene or Chemical Abstract Service Number 50-00-0.

If a salon owner decides to continue using a product containing formaldehyde, then he or she must follow OSHA’s formaldehyde standard. The standard’s requirements include conducting air monitoring, installing ventilation where needed, and training workers about formaldehyde, as well as providing protective equipment such as gloves, chemical splash goggles, face shields, and chemical resistant aprons.

Salon owners and other employers must have a material safety data sheet for any of the products they use that contain hazardous chemicals. The sheets must be made available to stylists and other workers.

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