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Hairdressers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for hairdressers.

The hairdressing sector in Europe employs more than a million people. Together with other owners of small and medium-sized companies, as a hairdresser you can benefit from the EU’s small business-friendly legislation. You can access EU-backed loans for small businesses and European market information. Enterprise Europe Network makes it easier to find a new business partner in Europe. Moreover, EU laws allow EU countries to apply reduced value added tax rates to various services, including hairdressing. This reduction, if applied, helps to increase profit margins for the sector.


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Hairdresser discussing hairstyling with male client

© JackF / Fotolia

It is estimated that there are around 400 000 hairdressing salons in the EU. Customers tend to view salons as safe and relaxing places, probably not realising that for hairdressers themselves the workplace can, in fact, be very harmful. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), exposure to chemicals and the nature of hairdressing work more generally can lead to various skin and respiratory diseases, chronic pain, physical injuries and even cancer.

The EU has already funded two projects focused on researching and implementing the prevention of occupational skin diseases in the hairdressing sector – SafeHair 1.0 (2010) and SafeHair 2.0 (2011). In addition, there is a growing body of EU occupational safety and health legislation that aims to protect all people, including hairdressers, from exposure to dangerous substances and other health threats at work.

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