From time to time we see in our Cash and Carry a salon owner, salon employee or perhaps maybe a retired hairdresser who is mildly suffering with what could best be described as a repetitive strain type of injury. Whether it be the back, hips, fingers or elbow, anyone performing a repetitive task can be prone to a strain type of injury on any part of the body. Prevention is the best cure for strain injuries and people should be aware that their body positioning and they way they perform their actions can lead to strain over time if not correctly adjusted. These mild injuries rarely, but sometimes can, lead to something slightly more debilitating in later life for an unfortunate few. It is therefore an important consideration for every salon owner and every employee to ensure that they have good work practices to minimise any strain / stress which could lead to strain and perhaps time off work, which of course nobody wants.
Factors that can help prevent this are many. Using an example of a hair stylist cutting hair. The action of ensuring the client is at a comfortable height is a simple but important factor that can help prevent strain and unnecessary stretching before the cutting even starts. Rather than just ‘make do’, stylists should spend a few extra seconds ensuring the client is at an exact comfortable and optimum height for the cutting process to reduce strain. Because the height of the client and the height of the stylist doing the cutting varies, this is something that should be done at every sitting. This is most easily accomplished using a hydraulic chair rather than a gas lift chair which is why we always prefer to advise customers that given a choice, the hydraulic chair will win hands down. Gas lift chairs can also suit this purpose but it just takes a little longer to achieve and requires a greater degree of co-operation of the seated client. Coincidently, while we are on the subject of mentioning hair cutting stylists, it is also important that the stylists scissors they use sits comfortably in their hand. Cutting a clients hair is a very repetitive action which uses many of the the muscles in the hands, arm and shoulder. Having the correct size hairdressing scissors which feel comfortable in the hands is also a ergonomic consideration which helps prevent strain.
All salon owners should also ensure that their employees know correct lifting techniques. Even lifting a dropped comb of the floor could cause a back injury if the correct techniques which entails straight back and bent knees are not used. Remember, prevention is the best cure for avoiding strain and repetitive strain injuries.
The moral of the story is that nothing should be taken for granted and education is the key. The internet is a great source and if unsure of what can be done to ensure proper practices are used within a salon it is a great place to start and find out where to go for advice and education.
[ Repetitive Strain Injury Wikipedia ]