RR627 - Health and safety in nail bars
Nail bars are a rapidly expanding small business sector. This project addressed Local Authority enforcement officers' concerns about the potential health risks involved with nail treatments and identified areas where further research is needed.
71 nail technicians answered a researcher-administered, self-reported occupational health questionnaire. Their data were compared with that from 64 control subjects.
- Nearly all the nail technicians interviewed had received training on nail work that included some aspects of health and safety.
- Compared with the control group, the nail technicians reported a statistically significant, increased prevalence of work-related symptoms, including nasal, neck, shoulder, wrist/hand and lower back problems.
- Compared with the control group, the nail technicians reported elevated levels of work-related lower respiratory symptoms, headaches, upper back and leg and foot problems. These were not statistically significant.
- Very few of the nail technicians interviewed used products containing methyl methacrylate (MMA) and over half were aware of advice or information discouraging the use of acrylic nail products containing MMA. Over a quarter of the nail technicians did not know whether the products they used contained ethyl methacrylate (EMA) or MMA.
Recommendations for further work
- The extent of the health and safety content of nail technicians' training and its application in practice should be investigated.
- The increased prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), reported by the nail technicians in this study, is likely to be caused by working practices and posture. An ergonomic assessment of working practices in this industry is warranted to identify those associated with risk factors for MSDs.
- This study found a higher prevalence of work related nasal and respiratory symptoms in the nail technicians when compared to controls. An investigation of nail technicians' exposure to potentially hazardous dust and vapours is warranted by these findings. Such an investigation should also assess the effectiveness of ventilation systems for reducing exposure.
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 authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.
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