Hair salons that are operated by small-business owners must ensure the safety of their employees and clients. State and federal regulations require that hair salon employees be trained on the proper way to cut, style and color hair, as well as how to protect customers while they are on the premises. Failure to follow these state and federal regulations can result in injuries and fines.


Hair salon owners must receive licenses from their states before they can open for business. Some licensing requirements are common to all states. For example, all states require that licensed beauticians attend beauty training schools for a certain amount of hours. They must also take the appropriate amount of continuing education every year. Salon employees must prominently display their licenses. In some states, it is illegal to operate a hair salon without proof of licensing or other legal documentation.


The health and safety of the customers and staff of hair salon owners should be the utmost priority. These owners have to maintain certain sanitation standards such as having their employees disinfect their equipment, wash their hands between clients, and disinfect reusable tools. Hair salons must also display their sanitation card rating. This rating is awarded after an inspection by the state board of examiners. Salons should have clean, well-maintained work stations and a functional public bathroom.


All hair salons must comply with the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect employees and clients. Small-business owners must become familiar with the chemicals that are used in their styling products. OSHA requires stylists to read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet for each product they plan to use in the salon. In April 2011, OSHA released alerts about the levels of formaldehyde in certain hair straightening and smoothing products. Hair salon owners that use these products must comply with OSHA's standards. For example, the hair salons must have efficient ventilation systems, and the owners must monitor formaldehyde levels and train their stylists on the proper use and cleanup procedures for these products.


OSHA requires that hair salon owners keep detailed records. Salon owners must document any injuries that occur to employees or customers. Proper record keeping must include all accidents that result in unconsciousness or death. Records also must state if an accident involves the person's inability to work, or if the person's medical treatment requires more than just first aid. They must also document the results of any air tests that are performed, especially those that establish the formaldehyde levels, as well as respirator fit-testing.