During the academic year 2011/2012, 135 students enrolled for the MCAST hairdressing course. For this academic year, 174 students registered for the course. The course consists of vocational practice and includes the study of key skills necessary for further training in the hairdressing trade. This was stated by the Parliamentary Secretary for the Elderly and Community Care, the Hon. Mario Galea, when closing the Safe Hair 2.0 Conference organised by the University of Osnabruck together with Hair and Beauty Federation in Malta and other partners.
The project was initiated by the hairdressers´ employers and workers´ associations. It aims at preventing occupational skin diseases (OSD) by defining common standards of safety and health in the top high risk profession within OSDs which is hairdressing.
It includes implementing teaching syllabi for apprentices and masters courses in order to make adequate skin protection and skin care a habit in this trade. This is the first European Commission initiative in the field of OSD prevention in risk professions.
Parliamentary Secretary Mario Galea argued that this experience was a very positive contribution for the sector. Through this project, organisers managed to drive at home a key point: the importance of preventing occupational skin diseases which are the leading causes of occupational illnesses.
Hairdressers are exposed to serious occupational health risks, which can cause absenteeism from work, early drop-out and social security applications at a relatively young age. Consequently, improving the working conditions of hairdressers is a major priority.
There are approximately 355,000 hairdressing companies and 400,000 hair salons in Europe. The hairdressing sector is a typical SME sector, and most salons are independent enterprises.
In some countries – in particular the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark – a substantial number of hairdressers carry out their business at home or in a dwelling.
The number of employees in the sector is estimated to be around 940,000. More than 50% of them work in Germany or Italy, and another 29% are based in France and the United Kingdom. About 40% of hairdressers work part-time. The employee turnover is relatively high. In Malta’s case, this sector incorporates 3000 hairdressers and half of them employ one or more staff with them.
Mario Galea stressed the point that risk assessments should be carried out routinely, in order to evaluate the risks to workers’ safety and health from workplace hazards. A thorough risk assessment in a systematic way would reduce injury or harm, and determine whether the hazards could be eliminated, reduced and placed into control.
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