The outbreak of coronavirus has changed the face of work in Australia, and for industries like hair and beauty, where we work with clients and get up close and personal, we need to be sure of our workplace rights, and what to do if they’re being ignored. Here are some health and safety guidelines you need to know to stay safe at work!

Right to refuse service

You absolutely can refuse to serve a client that is showing symptoms of coronavirus, such as a dry, chesty cough, a fever or a headache. You have the right to refuse unsafe work, and if your employer is directing you to work on a sick client, contact HSA straight away for advice.

Right to wear protection

Given the Federal Government’s response to coronavirus and guidelines regarding close contact, you should be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at work, such as a mask and gloves. These should be provided by your employer for free. We understand some owners might see it as a ‘bad look’, but your health and safety should be your main priority.  If you’re told you’re not allowed to wear PPE at work, tell your employer you don’t believe that is safe and contact HSA.

Right to practice social distancing

The Federal Government has advised that all Australians practice social distancing wherever they can. This means reducing contact with other people. While we understand hair styling and beauty therapy will fundamentally require some close contact, there are some ways you can practice social distancing in the salon, including:

  • Leave a generous distance between chairs so clients and staff aren’t near one another.
  • Take your lunch breaks outside rather than in the back room or lunch room.
  • Disinfect your station after every client and wash your hands regularly.
  • Make sure hand sanitiser is available for yourself and your clients.

At HSA, we take the health and safety of our members very seriously. If we hear employers are not following the above guidelines, we will report them to the state health and safety authorities.

The best way that you can protect yourself right now is to join the only dedicated hair and beauty union in Australia, HSA. We will speak up for your rights, support you in the workplace, and make sure your employer meets their health and safety obligations. Become a member today, and become part of a movement that’s out to make the industry a safer place.