By Meagan Newman

Salon owners may not be thinking about OSHA Hazard Communication training for their employees–and this would be a mistake. In recent months OSHA has issued a number of citations to beauty salons and manufacturers of hair straightening products containing formaldehyde alleging violations of the hazard communication standard. In a December 8, 2011 press release urging employers to better protect employees from the hazards of formaldehyde exposure, the agency states that it is continuing to respond to a number of complaints and referrals concerning exposure in salons, beauty schools and manufacturers. According to the release formaldehyde is an irritant, can cause an allergic reaction and poses a cancer risk.

“The best way to control exposure to formaldehyde is to use products that do not contain formaldehyde. Salons should check the label or product information to make sure it does not list formaldehyde, formalin, methylene glycol or any of the other names for formaldehyde,” said Dr. Michaels, Asst. Secretary of Labor for OSHA. “If salon owners decide to use products that contain or release formaldehyde, then they must follow a number of protective practices-including air monitoring, worker training and, if levels are over OSHA limits, good ventilation or respirators.”