Personal injury claims are on the rise and with claims settlements averaging at £12,000 for a lash tint and as much as £35,000 for a reaction to hair dye, this is why salon staff insist on patch testing so these claims can be avoided.

Yes hair salons have insurance but failing to follow patch testing procedures could invalidate this and if a salon don’t have the means to pay the injured party, the business may be put at risk.

So, what’s the risk? Can’t people just sign a disclaimer?

Patch testing for hair colour is a legal requirement under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and failure to patch test has previously led to prosecution and fines. Allergy symptoms include:

  • stinging or burning sensation on the scalp, face, or neck
  • blisters or welts
  • itching or swelling of the scalp and face
  • swollen eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • an angry, red rash anywhere on the body

Occasionally, a hair dye allergy will cause anaphylaxis to occur. This rare reaction is a medical emergency and can be fatal.

When you ask a client to sign a disclaimer you believe your client is signing away the right to take legal action against you for any injury following a treatment you have performed as it was their choice to not have a patch test and take the risk. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

With beauty injuries being the current focus of the “no win no fee” solicitors their advertisements are screaming out that you can still claim even if you signed a disclaimer. In summary, if a professional person acts unprofessionally in doing something that is against good practice then it is an unfair contract for the client to sign a disclaimer form and could not be used in a court of law. This means you would be found to have acted negligently and a court would rule in the injured party’s favour and their claim for damages and injuries would have to be paid.

What should you do when a customer doesn’t want a patch test?

The correct way to handle a client that refuses a patch test is to insist on the importance of testing for allergies to the product and refuse to treat them if they are not willing to comply. Most insurance policies will insist that you follow your training and manufacturer’s instructions and if a client refuses to let you do this then you must refuse to treat them. Yes, there is a small risk that the customer will go elsewhere but the impact to you and your business if that person ended up making a claim is a small price to pay in comparison.

For more information or to book in for patch test, please call Replay on 01325 485616.

Patch testing at Replay is carried out 48hrs before a colour appointment or on anyone who hasn’t had ‘OUR’ colours in the last 6 months.