You should not Underestimate the Importance of Ventilation in Salons
You’ll often hear people say that fresh air is good for the soul. Well, fresh air is also good for your health and the health of your customers and your team.
It is of utmost importance that when working in a salon, whether it’s a hair salon, beauty salon or barbershop, that you keep your salon ventilated thoroughly.
What is Ventilation?
Ventilation refers to the provision of fresh air into rooms or buildings through natural means (e.g. opening a window or door), or by mechanical means (e.g. central heating, air conditioning). It’s vital to allow as much ventilation into the building as you possibly can.
Why is it so Important?
According to Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health at the HSE Mid-West, there has been a number of outbreaks in hair salons and beauticians in recent weeks. (https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/munster/arid-40304579.html) If we are to avoid a return to higher restrictions, we must do everything to provide the safest environment that we can. The following explains why ventilation is a factor that must be given careful consideration within your salon.
As COVID-19 can be transmitted through respiration particles, it’s advised that even opening one window can reduce the number of particles in the air. This was proven from an experiment carried out by UCC Chemistry Professor John Wenger. In a salon in Cork, a small CO2 monitor was placed in the middle of the salon at an unused station, while keeping a window open the whole time. The owner of the salon was advised by Professor Wenger that if the CO2 level rose above 800, to open a door as well as the already open window, to get fresh airflow through the room. This experiment was conducted over two days, with the owner finding that when customers came in, the CO2 particle levels would rise to 800ppm (parts per million), and would reduce drastically when a door was opened to allow fresh air in. (https://www.corkbeo.ie/news/local-news/ucc-prof-teams-up-cork-20611697) This method is called cross-ventilation.
Source: John Wenger, Twitter (https://twitter.com/johnwenger9/status/1393942343640887299)
Source: John Wenger, Twitter (https://twitter.com/johnwenger9/status/1393942347906437121)
You can hear more about this on Professor John Wenger’s podcast where he speaks about the experiment in more detail: https://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/highlights-from-moncrieff/measuring-co2-for-reopening-businesses
So, how can you Enhance Ventilation in your Salon?
As we stated at the on-start, you can effectively ventilate your premises in two different ways; naturally or mechanically.
Natural ventilation involves introducing fresh air into the workplace through opening doors and windows. Cross-ventilation, as mentioned above, is a good option for window ventilation as it facilitates the quick exchange of room air for fresh air, through widely opened windows. Propping open doors (except for fire doors) may also increase air movement and ventilation rate.
Mechanical ventilation involves the use of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems. These provide comfortable environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity and clean air in indoor settings. It’s important to check your ventilation systems to ensure there’s an adequate supply of fresh air from a clean source, as many air conditioning units just heat, cool and recirculate the air. Where workplaces have Local Exhaust Ventilation, the new air should come from outdoor fresh air rather than other rooms. You can find more in-depth information about natural and mechanical ventilation in the COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for The Personal Grooming Industry April/May 2021 report.
What else can we do?
As well as ventilation, you and your staff should make every effort to not spend too much unnecessary time in the salon. As it’s an enclosed space, if you’re on your break, you should make an effort to spend it outdoors, weather depending of course. That way there is more chance for fresh air to come into the salon, as well as you getting fresh air outside.
Files from Press Office at The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Update – 8th July 2021)
Link to Poster Files including Poster Files on Ventilation for Employees, Employers and Work Safety Ventilation. We encourage you to down load the relevant posters, print them and use them throughout your work place.
To reduce the risk of outbreaks and clusters within the hair and beauty industry, it is vital to introduce enhanced ventilation into your routine. A small action like keeping your windows open and opening another door can increase the amount of fresh air in the building, which means less of a risk of COVID-19 particles in the air if there is someone who has tested positive in the vicinity.