Teenage workers are commonplace in Hair or Beauty Salons across the UK, providing a win-win situation of an enthusiastic and willing employee combined with a great early work experience opportunity for the teenager.
However, it is sometimes easy to forget that teen workers enjoy the same rights as any other employee, as does your duty of care as an employer.
Should a teen worker suffer injury or accident during their employment, you could find yourself on the end of a costly employers liability claim under your Hairdressing Insurance policy.
The key to ensuring your working environment is safe and to mitigate your exposure to claim is by fully understanding your responsibilities and rights as an employer.
- Implement full training and safe work practices and ensure risk assessments are correctly documented.
- Ensure similar risk assessments are undertaken for all new equipment, even if the teen worker will not usually operate the device, as it is highly likely they will come in contact with electrical or heat-based equipment throughout the day.
- Trips and Slips represent a significant hazard for Public Liability claims in your salon. Teen workers need to understand the risk should they spill water or leave a broom in a dangerous position, for example.
- Develop a clear Alcohol and Drugs Policy – For some, this may seem like unnecessary overkill. Still, in reality, should one of your workers be applying treatments and a client suffer injury, they could make a claim against you under the Treatment Risk section of your Hairdressing Insurance.
- Product awareness – When working on the till they may also become involved in the sale of hair products. If so, training should be extended to cover full details of the product, suitability and any usage instructions.
- Chemical Handling – Hair treatments can often involve the use, or handling of chemicals, some of which may be hazardous. Even teen or part-time staff should receive clear and adequate training in the handling and safe disposal of chemical products to reduce the risk of injury.
All employees, including part-time or work experience staff, enjoy the same rights and benefits as full-time employees. Their rights include:
- Right to work in a safe and healthy workplace free of hazards.
- Right to refuse to work if they believe a job or working condition is unsafe and exposes them to immediate danger.
- Right to report safety hazards to a supervisor or employer without the fear of being illegally punished or sacked.
- Right to only work the limited hours and types of work permitted by law.
- Right to receive training and use required personal protective equipment such as safety clothing, goggles and gloves.
- Right to receive health and safety information about machines, job tasks and hazardous chemicals that may be harmful to health.
- Right to demand adequate payment for their work – at the least the current minimum wage.
- Right to work in an environment free of racial or sexual harassment.
Any failure or breach of employee rights can result in a Management Liability or Employers Liability claim.
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