Hairdressing has always been an important part of Erik Lander's life. Back in the mid seventies his parents opened a small hairdressing business in Corby, Northants. Today, the salon remains very much a family concern.
"My sister Pam and I run it and two of Pam's daughters have recently come to work here" explains Erik, 37.
Running a busy unisex salon with ten employees, however, involves much more than cutting, styling or colouring hair.
There are key safety issues to consider too. Hairdressing products can carry risks of eye or skin irritation for both staff and customers. And even something as commonplace as shampooing carries risks for everyone in the salon.
"Water, through the wash basins, is a major area of risk - people might slip on wet floors" explains Erik.
"And with wet work -- when staff are constantly shampooing 20-30 times a day - there's a risk of occupational dermatitis, a major issue in our industry."
Until recently, completing a Health & Safety Risk Assessment for the salon was a headache.
"It was quite complicated - and it wasn’t very clearly set out" says Erik.
But now, thanks to the example risk assessments available on the Health & Safety Executive website, Erik feels much more confident that he’s submitting the right paperwork.
"There’s an online example for a hairdressing salon that we use which takes away any possible inconsistencies" he says.
"The examples give you clear, basic headings - and the process is much easier to understand.
"For us, the example risk assessments have simplified everything."
"It's made it all a lot clearer."