You know how it is.

The usual mad rush in December.

A motivated therapist or stylist offers to work late to help with the backlog. You gratefully say “yes please!” and someone ends up working late in the salon on their own.

Where’s the problem? Hopefully, there isn’t one.

But (and potentially it’s a big but) as  salon owner you have obligations and responsibilities for your lone worker. And it’s easy to overlook them. So today’s blog is just a quick round-up of what you need to think about.

The starting point is that lone workers should not be put at more risk than other employees.

1. Solitary workers – training

Why not use this article as the starting point for a team training session? It’s a great way to show you care about your salon team.

Run through how they should act, and cope, in unexpected circumstances such as violence, illness or sexual harassment. Late at night, and on their own, younger staff aren’t able to ask more experienced colleagues for help. They can feel very isolated and exposed. Team training ensures they fully understand the risks, what sensible precautions they should take and how to react.

2. Check your salon insurance for lone working

Make a quick call to your insurer to make sure you’re covered for lone working. This is important. Some policies have onerous conditions or in extreme cases don’t offer cover.

3. Working alone in the salon – stay in contact

Ensure the therapist/stylist has someone to call if there is a problem. Have pre-agreed regular contact – such as text on the hour, email or call. Whatever suits you both best.

4. Sudden illness when solo

Ensure you have an effective procedure in place if either your employee or client becomes ill, or there is an accident or emergency.

Have clear written instructions with telephone numbers, your postcode and other details in case an ambulance needs to be called. It’s so easy to panic if someone is suddenly very ill and you’re on your own.

It’s also worth checking whether any salon staff have a medical condition which could mean it’s not suitable for them to work alone.

5. Prevention is better than cure

Wherever possible avoid colleagues working alone by, for example, arranging for two people to open or close the salon.

Women and younger staff can be particularly vulnerable so don’t put them into risky situations. Do you know the clients they are seeing that evening? If not, think twice, especially for beauty therapists who can be more at risk than hair stylists by the very nature of their job.

Finally, here’s a really useful leaflet from the Health and Safety Executive with a few more suggestions and advice.