Health & Safety Issues for the Self Employed – including Hairdressers

There is a lot of confusion about the changes to Health and Safety legislation relating to the self employed. A few years ago a report was undertaken which indicated that self employed people who pose no risk to others should be excluded from Health and Safety legislation, unless they’re engaged in certain high risk activities. However, the government has implemented this legislation with a series of complex sets of regulations which most self employed people find it difficult to understand.

To put it simply, the self employed are now excluded from some Health and Safety legislation if they pose no risk to others and if they’re not engaged in specific activities which are listed in the regulations. These include activities such as construction, agriculture and the removal of asbestos. The test here is whether the self employed person, if not working on one of those types of activities, actually poses a risk to anyone else.

Take the example of a self employed hairdresser. Does the law apply to them? The answer is that if you use chemicals, then yes it does. But if you just cut your clients’ hair then no. But can a self employed hairdresser still injure a client? Yes – they could electrocute them with hair clippers, they could cut them with a razor or scissors, or they could infect a client if they don’t disinfect their equipment properly. So quite clearly they would pose a risk to other people.

On their website, the HSE gives the suggestion that hairdressers would not be exempt from Health and Safety legislation when in fact, when it comes to the crunch, they will have to comply with it. These issues need to be considered on an individual basis.

For most self employed people, there is little needed in terms of records and risk assessment statements and there is no requirement for written policy statements, unless you employ five people or more. Taking good, sensible precautions and documenting what you are doing is the best course of action. If you are self employed and you’re not sure if Health and Safety legislation applies to you or not, then please do contact us for some impartial advice. You can call Quadriga 0118 929 9920 or click here to email us.




Leave a Reply


We give professional and practical advice to help you implement effective health and safety policies and management systems. Get in touch to see how we can help you.



Your health and safety needs can take many forms. As a result, Quadriga offers a comprehensive range of services to meet all your needs.



Board members need to show leadership to minimise risk to the business and to safeguard themselves from personal liability and criminal actions.


Copyright © 2022 Quadriga Health & Safety Ltd - 318 King's Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4JG Company No.03243223