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RR721 - An exploratory study of occupational health risks for beauty therapists who carry out massage and spray tanning treatments

This study explored the possible risks of musculo-skeletal and respiratory ill health for beauty therapists who deliver massage and spray tanning treatments. The delivery of these treatments was observed in three salons who also offered facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures.

The postural analysis of both massage and spray tanning treatments for this study indicated an overall medium risk level of developing MSDs. However, as the reported activity (treatment) durations were short and frequencies low, the risk may be lower than these assessments suggested. If these or other treatments involving similar postures or repetitive movements were carried out for more than two hours a day then further assessment and risk reducing action may be needed.

When delivering spray tanning treatments, the workers’ personal exposures to specific volatile and semivolatile organic compounds were all low and the active ingredient in spray tan solution (dihydroxyacetate) was not detected. The bacterial/fungal contamination of the samples was very low and not considered to pose a risk to health.

It is acknowledged that the findings of this exploratory study may not be representative of the wider beauty therapy sector. Further study is recommended in order to gain a better understanding of the potential impact of the health issues identified.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-01-27