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Personal protective equipment

Nail salon workers use products containing chemicals that may be harmful to their health. However, there are things they can do to protect themselves, such as wearing personal protective equipment.

Respiratory Protection

There are several types of respiratory protection that can be appropriate for nail salon workers. Managers should supply employees with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standards to ensure proper use of protection.

n95 mask two

N95 Dust Mask

  • Protects against dust, use when buffing or filing nails
  • Does not protect against chemicals
  • Only needs to be worn when working on a client

n95 dust mask

N95 Dust Mask with Odor Control

  • Protects against dust and some chemical odors
  • Mask has an exhalation valve for easy breathing

air purifying respirator

Air Purifying Respirators

  • Only mask that protects against chemical gasses and vapors
  • Types of mask cartridges vary
  • Managers should get employees fitted and trained on mask use

* Note that surgical masks are NOT appropriate protection for nail salon workers, as they were designed to prevent transmission of bodily fluids, not from dust or chemical inhalation.

Skin Protection

Salon workers can protect their skin with proper hand washing, gloves, and covering open wounds on exposed skin.

hand wash

Wash your hands:

  • Before and after assisting every client
  • Before eating, drinking, applying makeup, smoking
  • Before and after handling chemicals


Wear gloves:

  • Nitrile gloves should be worn during all services
  • Replace gloves immediately if there is a tear or hole in them
  • Use a new pair of gloves for each client
  • Do not use latex gloves because some people have latex allergies and because latex gloves do not protect against chemicals used in a nail salon

band aid

Cover cuts and wounds:

  • Nail salon workers should cover cuts or open wounds with a bandage
  • Cuts and wounds in the skin allow chemicals and other hazards (viruses, bacteria, fungi) to easily enter the body
  • Bandages help protect the skin from possible infection

Eye Protection

eye protection

Safety glasses or goggles offer some protection in case of airborne particles, chemical splash, and eye irritation.

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