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Salon Safety: Community-Engaged Approaches to Workplace Safety Interventions


In California, the salon industry represents a significant small-business sector. Working in

these salons are cosmetologists who are exposed to a wide array of occupational hazards at

work. Toxic chemicals, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological demands in the workplace are just a few of the hazards experienced by beauty care workers. The beauty products marketed to and used by Black women have been found to contain potentially harmful ingredients.

Black hair-salon workers face serious health hazards from these products they use

on clients and other health hazards at their work. Knowledge on this issue, as it relates to

Black hair care professionals and potential intervention methods, is extremely limited. This dissertation includes three studies that sought to understand the occupational health status

of Black salon workers in the Los Angeles region, identify workplace intervention strategies

tailored to small businesses and pilot a community-engaged intervention program aimed at

reducing workplace injuries and illnesses in the salon.

Based on the first study, a lack of proper health and safety training and personal protective

equipment use within the salon worker community was found. Additionally, it was

found that there was a willingness by stylists to learn more about workplace hazards and

how to mitigate their risks. The conclusion of this study demonstrated a need for additional

community-based studies with Black salon workers on workplace health intervention methods.

In the second study, it was found that the process of developing and facilitating an intervention program for small businesses required an understanding of the community being

served, developing a relationship with the community, building partnerships, and addressing

barriers to information. From this second study the use of community partnerships and

intermediates in the promotion of safety and environmental practices was highlighted as

instrumental for success.

In the third study, it was found that a community-engaged approach in the development

of a personal protective equipment use intervention program led to favorable results including

an increase of salon safety knowledge and personal protective equipment use among Black


Taken together, these research studies provide clear insights into comprehensive approaches

for targeted occupational safety intervention programs aimed at underserved worker


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