If you work as a barber or hairdresser, you appreciate the special bond created when you help your clients improve their looks and self-image before important life events. Despite the high social rewards of the job, many hairstylists leave the profession early.
In the process of grooming and styling clients, hairstylists incur the highest percent of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among all occupations. An investment in ergonomically correct barber chairs is an investment in your health and comfort and the longevity of your career.
Barbershop Workplace Injuries
Barbers and hairdressers spend most of their day engaging in tasks that create musculoskeletal stress. A routine day includes:
- standing for long hours
- adjusting barber chairs and client positions
- assuming postures that place strain on the back and shoulders
- performing repetitive tasks
- holding tools for long durations (e.g., hairdryers, scissors).
Common MSD injuries from performing these hairdressing tasks include stress to the lower back, neck, shoulder, and hand/wrist. Many hairstylists leave their jobs early because of these occupational health risks.
Barber Chair Ergonomics
Most of these tasks posing a high risk of MSD injury take place around one piece of equipment—the barber's chair. Some basic ergonomic features can significantly reduce the risk of injury. They include:
- Adjustable chair height and back to flexibly position client
- Adjustable, comfortable headrests and footrests to reduce client movement
- Thick armrests to provide client support and minimize movement
- Foot pedal chair adjuster to avoid straining arms and back
- Swivel action.
Barber Chair Placement
While working from the barber chair, hairstylists handle many tools. Different body stresses are experienced when shampooing, cutting, coloring, or styling hair. The following work design features can minimize stress and injury.
Place tools at workstations at the right height so stretching, bending, or twisting are not required to access them. Most lower back strain and injuries develop while handling tools and equipment.
Heavy objects, in particular, should be placed between knee and shoulder height. Avoid reaching over and stretching or distorting the body to grab these tools. Place yourself directly in front of the object and pick it up.
When barber chairs are spaced too closely together, the range of movement of hairstylists is limited. Oftentimes, space is too limited to properly layout cutting and styling tools. The client, meanwhile, may feel more constrained and become fidgety in the chair.
By improving your comfort and health with an ergonomically correct barber's chair, you will be able to work more efficiently and productively and for a longer duration.
For additional tips, reach out to a barber chair supply company.