Health Hazards in Nail Salons
Assistance for Workers and Employers
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or worker rights.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small businesses may contact OSHA's free on-site consultation services funded by OSHA to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites. To contact free consultation services, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eCompliant Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by an worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
Other Federal Assistance
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are available to provide resources for workers who may have experienced discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status or national origin.
What is the difference between an Employee and an Independent Contractor for purposes of the Occupational Safety and Health Act?
- It doesn’t matter how an individual is labeled by the salon owner. Instead, courts and agencies will look at a list of factors to determine whether you are an employee or independent contractor.
- For example, if you: rent a station at a salon; purchase your own supplies and tools; have your own customers and set your own schedule and appointments; set your own rate and are paid by customers directly; and have your own business license, you may be more likely to be considered an independent contractor.
- However, if: the owner sets the work schedule; you are paid by the hour; the owner or receptionist makes the appointments for all workers; you do not rent the space; the owner sets the rates paid by customers; and you use the owner's tools and equipment, you may be more likely to be considered an employee.
Why does it matter?
- Employers must provide protection against workplace hazards for their employees; independent contractors are responsible for their own occupational health and safety protection. Employees also have rights to a minimum wage, workers' compensation, and other benefits. Independent contractors do not.
- Just because a salon owner tells you that you are an independent contractor, it does not mean that you are one. And, just because an owner gives you an IRS form 1099 instead of a W-2 does not mean that you are an independent contractor. Salons sometimes misclassify the employment status of their workers to bypass taking protective safety and health measures and also to deny benefits. That is why it is important for you to know the difference between what constitutes an employee and an independent contractor. If you need help, you can contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).