One of the best things about a spa is that it is somewhere visitors can feel their most comfortable. There is no other place where so many people go with the sole purpose of relaxing and unwinding in safety and comfort. Health and safety are always important, but it is rare for health and safety to be as crucial and core part of a business as with spas and salons. If you are in charge of a spa or if you’re thinking of starting one, there are consequently very many health and safety considerations for you to mull over first.
There are countless responsibilities that a spa must think about on a daily basis, but the most important ones are as follows:
- The environment must be safe and must be kept safe and free of hazards.
- The welfare that is provided to staff must be adequate so that they can work safely and effectively.
- Staff must be given all the important information and training that they need to safely work before they start their job.
- Any materials that come into the spa, whether for sale or use, need to be safely handled and stored.
- Employees must report any accidents that happen, as well as anything unsafe that they see or experience.
It is a lot easier said than done as many of your responsibilities depend on the willing cooperation of staff. As a result, your health and safety procedures should be standardized as much as possible. One common and often crucial way of standardizing health and safety is by conducting a hazard analysis.
A hazard analysis, also known as a risk assessment, is so important that in many countries (including the United Kingdom), it is a legal requirement. Staff all have a responsibility to find and analyze potential hazards to minimize the risk of harm that might come from those hazards. Examples of hazards in the spa include:
- Messy floors – massage oil or wet floors can be significant hazards as they increase the risk of slips and falls.
- Temperatures – excessive temperatures can cause harm, so in extreme temperature environments like steam rooms and saunas, make sure you have some hazard minimization measures (e.g., a maximum time to spend in a hot environment, easily available cool water, etc.).
- Poorly maintained equipment – even a poorly maintained massage table can do significant harm (imagine it collapsed while in use)!
- Lockers – safety is not just about physical safety; spas need to protect customers from illegal activity like theft – if lockers are not in use or if they are in poor condition, the spa has a responsivity to take some theft reduction measures.
- Infections – spa equipment and facilities can be places for bacteria and fungi to proliferate, due to hot temperatures and high moisture in the air. Showers should be encouraged with visitors, and Personal Protective Equipment should be used by staff when necessary.
Conducting the Risk Assessment
A risk assessment can be difficult to do if you have never done one before, but it can be learned quickly with enough effort. A shortcut most spas use is to outsource the risk assessment to a health and safety company. The Health and Safety Dept in Bristol and Wales offers a free initial review that can help a small spa get started quickly.
You will need to read the relevant governmental literature for your location, but the basics are as follows:
- Identify hazards – make a list of some of the potential hazards at your spa or salon
- Determine who might be harmed by the hazards – write down potential harmed parties alongside each hazard
- Evaluate the level of risk from each hazard – you should grade each hazard from 1-5 on two scales: the level of harm caused (where 1 is a minor injury and 5 is death) and the likelihood of the risk happening (where 1 is 2% and under and 5 is 50% and over). Multiplying these two numbers gives you a risk rating, where everything over 11 is high and must be followed up by immediate action, and everything over 26 should be eliminated as soon as possible.
- Findings should be clearly recorded – all risks should be reported formally to the head of the spa. It is very important that you keep all your risk assessment records, as a local authority or insurance company might need them.
- Review your risk assessment and update it regularly – set a regular assessment date, perhaps every quarter, and make sure you always stick to it.