Compensation for Injury Caused by Hairdressers

It is estimated that most women go to the hairdressers every 6 to 8 weeks and, over the course of their lifetime, spend over a month in the salon. Men too are increasingly looking for more complex hair care and more barbers are opening every week to cater for demand.
Whether you are looking for a simple cut and blow dry or are expecting to spend hours in the salon getting your hair transformed, you expect that the worst that will happen is that you won't like the end result. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a little more serious than that, and an injury caused by a hairdresser can be serious.

Hairdressing is an unregulated industry

Although the Hairdressing Council runs a register of qualified hairdressers, membership is voluntary and its estimated that of 130,000 trading hairdressers only 10,00 are registered. Unfortunately. Anyone with a pair of scissors can set themselves up in hairdressing or barbering. This means it is up to you to ensure that the hairdresser you choose is suitably knowledgeable and competent to perform the service you desire. If they do cause injury to you, however, despite the lack of regulations that plagues the industry, you may be able to claim against them for any injury, suffering and expenses required to repair any damage.

A hair colour that went horribly wrong

For one of our previous clients, a 34 year old from Stoke-on-Trent, her visit to a professional salon ended in a trip to A&E when a stylist without specialist knowledge attempted to colour her hair. She ended up with chemical burns to her scalp and damage to her hair that would take two and a half years to repair. The salon accepted liability and our client was awarded £6,000 compensation to cover the cost of further treatments.

My hairdresser cut my hair badly – can I make a claim?

Whilst it is possible to claim for the psychological trauma of getting injured in the salon, hairdressing injuries are rarely caused by cutting. Simply having a poor haircut or a style that is not what you were expecting is not usually enough for a claim to be successful.
The types of accident that could lead to a person seeking compensation are those where there is some lasting damage to the person receiving the haircut, or the hair itself. For example:
  • Chemical burns
  • Allergic reactions
  • Burns from hair dryers, curling tongs, straighteners etc
  • Hair loss caused by treatments
  • Tripping injuries caused by untidy working practices
Chemical burns and allergic reactions are most common when the hair is being dyed or bleached, although any hair care product when used inappropriately, or in conjunction with other products it was not intended to be used with, could trigger symptoms. If you have an excessively sore, dry or itchy scalp or experience breathing difficulties after a visit to the salon you should seek medical advice.
Curling tongs, straighteners and dryers all have the potential to cause burns, especially if held in one place for too long or if not maintained properly so that they overheat. Stylists should be trained in using them so that they know the correct technique to avoid touching you with the hot parts.

Hairdressers are at risk too

It’s not just clients of a hairdressing salon that can suffer injury whilst attending one. All workplaces are subject to Health and Safety at work legislation and hairdressers, especially those who employ others, need to perform adequate risk assessments to ensure the safety of their staff and to avoid costly accident at work claims. Some things to consider are:
  • Ensuring appliances are checked regularly for electrical safety
  • Ensuring each stylist can work comfortably on clients without stooping or stretching
  • Ensuring staff keep the salon clean and tidy to avoid slips and trips
  • Providing suitable PPE for stylists involved in colouring or bleaching hair
If you are a hairdresser who feels that your employer is not taking your health and safety seriously then, in the first instance, you should make your concerns known to them with a follow up to the local authority if the problem is not rectified. If you have already had an accident due to unsafe working practices then you may have a claim for compensation.

I think I have a claim – what now?

Your salon (or employer if you work in a salon) has a duty of care to ensure your wellbeing. For clients, they shouldn't use hair care products without consulting with your first or they should patch test hair dye before full application (in some cases you may be requested to go in a day or so before your appointment for a skin test). As an employee, whether you rent a chair or are fully employed by the salon, you should be risk assessed and all possible provisions should be taken by the salon to ensure you are working in a safe place.
If you believe that your hair stylist or salon has failed in this duty of care to you as a client or as a hairdresser, and you wish to consider making a claim then our experts can advise. Simply call 01782 608 744 to speak to someone today to find out more.

Related Cases Studies 

Hair dye treament causes an itchy scalp and damaged hair - compensation amount £6,000


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