Recent press coverage on “EU’s high heel ban for salon staff” and “Barmy EU to ban stylist’s ring & heels” are misleading and reports of a new health and safety directive are untrue.
What lies behind the “hair-raising” headlines is an own initiative by salon owners and hairdressers to help better protect the health and safety of all those working in the industry in the EU.
The draft agreement negotiated by Coiffure EU and UNI Europa builds upon existing national best practices and existing regulations in member states. Such as the current HSE guidelines (pdf) on the provision of gloves. It will mean little change for those hairdressers – salon owners and workers – who already follow the law and health and safety guidance.
Scientific evidence shows hairdressers are exposed to a high risk of occupational disease, such as muscular-skeletal disorders and skin diseases in particular. Failure to adequately address health risks lead to increased absenteeism and early retirement from the profession.
The cost of occupational skin diseases in loss of productivity across all sectors exceeds €5bn every year in the EU, according to latest calculations. With the hairdressing profession carrying the highest risk. Medical Reference document (pdf)
Before the agreement becomes law it needs to be approved by the European Commission with the final decision being made by EU government ministers, including the UK, at the Council. The European Parliament will be informed but does not debate the proposal.
See also scientific evidence provided by European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.