Customer personal injury claims can be costly and very damaging to a salon's reputation.
They can be much more frequent than employee claims, especially in salons where water or other hazards can exist, often resulting in costly Public Liability Insurance claims under your Hairdressing Insurance policy.
Can I Use Employee Risk Assessments for Clients?
Employee safety programmes are not sufficient to protect customers, who are more at risk for accidents than employees for three main reasons:
- Clients expect the salon to be safe.
- Children or elderly clients may be more susceptible to injury.
- Customers do not receive safety training.
The key is to understand exactly what your liability for customer injury is at your premises and take steps to minimise accidents.
Understanding Your Liability
As a salon owner, you should maintain safe premises for your customers. In legal terms, you have a high duty of care.
This includes the duty to warn customers of non-obvious, dangerous conditions that you know about, to use ordinary care in active operations in the business, and to make reasonable inspections to discover hazardous conditions and make them safe.
Most customer accidents are preventable, so it is essential to take steps to make your facility safer and less exposed to the risk of customer injury and litigation.
What Are The Most Common Injuries
Common injuries that could become your liability include:
- Slips and falls as a result of wet floors, torn carpets/mats, poor lighting, or falls over steps. This type of injury is widespread.
- Treatment risk injuries from products applied or sold – You must check that your Hairdressing Insurance policy extends to cover Treatment Risk.
- Head and body injuries from falling objects, retail displays, hanging signs or other mishaps.
- Falls or Trip injuries from cables or sweeping equipment.
- Car park injuries as a result of cracked paving slabs, potholes or failure to remove snow or ice.
What Can I Do To Prevent Client Injury Claims
Steps you can take to minimise the risk of a customer claim include the following:
- Identify high-risk areas of the premises (such as where liquids are frequently spilt by a washbasin or near the doorway), and set up an inspection schedule to ensure all floor areas are reviewed throughout the day
- Ensure all staff are fully trained, and capability is assessed adequately for new team members.
- Develop product guidelines which are assessed and trained out adequately across all staff to ensure correct usage.
- During snowy, icy or rainy weather conditions, take care of dangerous situations on pavement, stairs and car parks promptly.
- Ensure proper lighting in all areas of the salon, including any bathroom facilities, and regularly check that all bulbs are functioning. You should also document your inspections.
- Ensure that product displays are stable, and always put heavier items, such as dryers, are placed near the bottom of the shelves.
- Maintain any car parks regularly to avoid injury. Repave, repair and check for hazardous conditions regularly. In snow or ice, you should ensure that pathways are adequately cleared, and all inspections accurately reported.
A worrying trend in today's society is the activity of criminal gangs or "accident teams" who can stage injuries, targeting several businesses in the same area.
Even if your client base is well known to you, you could still be targeted by people posing as visitors or members of the public.
This fraud can cost thousands of pounds in unwarranted liability payments and potentially impact your Hairdressing Insurance policy.
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