COVID-19 Employer Information for Nail Salons

Create a COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Plan

  • The CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers provides guidelines and recommendations that all employers can use to protect their workers and customers.
  • Continue to follow your state board of cosmetology rules for safety and sanitation, in addition to the recommendations here.
  • Continue to follow any guidance from your local or state board of health or health department.

Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplaceexternal icon.

  • Identify work areas where employees interact with customers and areas that may lead to close contact (within 6 feet) among coworkers (for example, break rooms, check-in areas, and where people come in or exit).
  • Follow available CDC guidance and work with local and/or state public health authorities and occupational safety and health professionals to decide if you need to have COVID-19 testing of your employees and workplace contact tracing of COVID-19 positive employees.

Develop hazard controls using the hierarchy of controls to prevent infection among workers. Include a combination of controls noted below. Use as many ‘layers’ of these controls as you can at the same time.

Engineering controls: Separate people from the hazards

  • Move, change, or adjust workstations to help workers maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet between each other and customers that they are not servicing.
    • Install transparent shields or other physical barriers where social distancing is not an option (for example between chairs or workstations or at salon tables).
  • Physically separate employees from each other and from customers in all other areas of the salon such as break rooms, parking lots, and in entrance/exit areas.
    • Use easy to see floor markings or signs to encourage physical distancing even in common areas, such as break rooms.
    • Close or limit access to common areas where employees are likely to be together or in groups.
  • Remove chairs from the waiting area to make sure people do not sit close together or wait in groups.
  • Use ventilated tables or portable ventilation units, if available. Move the ventilation units to make sure they do not blow air from one person to another.
  • If possible, salon owners and managers should work with facilities (building) management to adjust the ventilation so that the maximum amount of fresh air is sent into to client spaces, while maintaining the humidity at 40-60%. If possible, increase filter efficiency of HVAC units to highest level possible.
  • Consider using portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPAexternal icon) filtration units to remove contaminants and clean the air.
  • Additional considerations for improving the building ventilation system can be found in the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

Administrative controls: Change the way people work

  • Consider doing daily in-person or virtual (phone or video) health checks (like symptom and/or temperature screening) of employees before they enter the facility
    • Screening options could include taking employees’ temperature and making sure they do not have symptoms before coming to work. Symptoms of sickness might include having a fever, or having chills, coughing, or trouble breathing in the past 24 hours.
    • Ask employees if someone they live with or are close to has symptoms.
    • Make sure that employees maintain social distancing (6-feet) from each other while they wait for screening.
  • Telephone screen all clients for symptoms of COVID-19.
    • When there is known COVID-19 spread in the community, services should be limited to clients with an appointment.
    • During telephone or online scheduling of appointments, ask clients if they or anyone in their house has had a fever, felt feverish, or had chills, coughing, or difficulty breathing in the past 24 hours.
    • If the client reports symptoms, recommend they do not come in for salon services.
    • Place signs at the entrance asking anyone experiencing symptoms not to enter.
  • Stagger shifts, start times, and break times as much as possible to reduce crowding and make sure that at least 6 feet distance can be maintained between employees and clients as much as possible.
  • Clean and Disinfect high-touch surfaces (places where a lot of people might touch).
    • For high-touch surfaces, use products that are EPA-registered. Always follow the directions on the label. When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, you can use alternative disinfectants, for example, diluted household bleach solutions, or rubbing alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, appropriate for surface disinfection.
      • If surfaces are visibly dirty, clean them using a detergent or soap and water before you disinfect them.
    • Advise employees to always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when they are cleaning and disinfecting, and that they may need additional personal protective equipment (PPE) based on the setting and product.
    • Provide disinfecting disposable wipes and other cleaning materials so that frequently touched surfaces (curing lamps, countertops, doorknobs, toilets, tables, light switches, phones, faucets, sinks, keyboards etc.) can be properly wiped down by employees before each use.
      • Do specific and more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of other high-touch surfaces.
    • Use single use tools and supplies (like powder vials for dipping nails) where possible, and use EPA-registered disinfectantsexternal icon between clients on items that are re-used. Clean and disinfect all workstation surfaces and tools between clients.
    • Disinfect pedicure spa bowlsexternal icon or use disposable liners between clients.
    • Disinfect pens, touchscreens, and counters after each client.
    • Employees should use fresh smocks and provide clean linens (like towels) for each client.
      • Launder all employee smocks and client towels following the manufacturer’s instructions on the warmest setting possible.
    • Use devices that do not require the employee to handle client credit and debit cards and put in place a cashless policy. If this is not possible, make sure that cash and cards are handled with care by employees; they can change gloves between each customer they ring up, or they can wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (or if soap and water are unavailable, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) between clients.
  • Make sure you give employees enough time for frequent handwashing throughout the day and in between clients. Provide accessible sinks, soap, water, and a way for them to dry their hands (e.g., paper towels, hand dryer).
    • Remind employees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, they should use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Provide hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch waste baskets at the cash registers and in the restrooms.
  • Maintain physical distancing (enough room between people) in the salon, including at cash registers.
    • Limit the number of people in the salon at one time to those working or receiving services while making sure to keep six feet between stations.
    • Consider closing waiting areas and try to keep clients from entering the salon before to their appointment.
    • Encourage clients to wait in a personal vehicle or outside the salon where they can be contacted by mobile phone when it is their turn to be seen.
    • Consider having a dedicated staff member stand at the entrance to keep this policy in place.
  • Post signs and reminders at entrances and in strategic places where everyone can see providing instruction on social distancing, hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and the use of cloth face coverings. This should include signs for non-English speakers, as needed.
  • CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings as a protective measure in addition to social distancing staying at least 6 feet away from others). Cloth face coverings may be especially important when social distancing is not possible because of working conditions.
    • When clients book appointments via telephone or online, ask them to wear a cloth face covering when they enter the salon and while they are receiving services. Consider linking to the CDC cloth face coverings guidance on your online booking platform, if possible.
    • In nail salons where respirators or facemasks are required for the job tasks being performed (such as applying acrylic nails), those items should still be worn. Cloth face coverings are not an appropriate substitute.
  • Provide handwashing stations for clients, and ask clients to wash their hands with soap and water immediately before their salon service.
  • Remind employees that people may be able to spread COVID-19 even if they do not show symptoms. Consider all close interactions (within 6 feet) with employees, clients, and others as a potential source of exposure.

Protect Workers and Clients with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • OSHApdf icon has recommended specific PPE for some types of work activities when engineering and administrative controls are not able to be put in place or may not protect workers from the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
    • Nail salon employees would likely fall in the medium exposure risk category, since they will have frequent and/or close contact with (within 6 feet) customers.
    • Workers in the medium exposure risk category may need to wear some combination of gloves, a gown or smock, a face covering, and/or a face shield or goggles.
  • Cloth face coverings are not an appropriate substitute for respirators or facemasks when performing job tasks (like applying acrylic nails) that normally require respiratory protection. Nail salon workers should continue to wear all PPE required for their job.
  • Disposable gloves should be changed between each client.
    • Employees should wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol after removing their gloves.
  • Provide enough clean smocks for employees to put a new one on between each client.
  • Provide employee training on the proper way to put on and take off PPE items to minimize contamination, as well as training on methods to clean items that are reusable.

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