The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has published a report on health and safety in the hairdressing sector. More than one million hairdressers in 400,000 hairdressing salons in the European Union, 80% of whom are women, are exposed to numerous risks: ergonomic, chemical, biological (hygiene), physical, electrical, psychological, etc.
They mainly suffer skin diseases such as eczema, triggered by constant contact with water, combined with the handling of products containing chemicals. They also suffer musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), due to hyper-loading of the joints related to certain practices in the trade (repetitive movements and postures, stress and work pace, etc.), and asthma. These conditions are far more widespread among hairdressers than in other occupations.
The EU-OSHA report reviews these various risks. It also mentions the measures to be taken under the European agreement signed in April 2012 by the European social partners in the sector for improved protection of the health and safety of hairdressers. The signatories, Coiffure EU and UNI Europa Hair & Beauty, representing the employers and employees respectively, had applied to the European Commission for a binding document to transpose this agreement via a directive, in accordance with the procedures provided for in the European Treaty, applicable in all the Member States.
But last October, the Commission announced that it would not present a proposal during its current mandate. It nevertheless continues to examine the question. According to the EU-OSHA report, the Commission has asked an outside consultant to perform a study to compile data concerning injuries and health problems in the sector. Another objective of the study is to estimate the costs and benefits due to the provisions of the agreement, and their financial impact, especially for SMEs and VSEs, which are by far the majority in the sector.