Stylists Article - April 2014

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Quick – what is the most important piece of equipment in your salon?

If you answered your selection of combs, or curlers, or scissors, or nail files, Q-tips and the other tools of your art and trade, you’re correct, of course. But if you answered "a screwdriver," you wouldn’t be wrong, either.

That’s because that screwdriver may come in awfully handy when it’s time to take apart and clean the removable parts of your whirlpool footspa, as required by the Board of Barbering of Cosmetology’s regulations.

In 2006, the Board created procedures for how each type of footspa must be cleaned and how frequently. They are detailed in Sections 980.1, 980.2 and 980.3 of the California Code of Regulations and demonstrated in the following Board-produced video: http://www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/enforcement/videos.shtml.These procedures were developed in order to protect consumers from outbreaks of mycobacteria.

Most commercial whirlpool footspas and air-jet basins, even the pipeless variety, have removable parts of some sort, usually screen covers and jets (Consult with the manufacturer of your pedicure chair, who should be able to tell you). Debris tends to collect there and simply scrubbing the sides of the basin is not enough to fully disinfect the equipment. You need to remove the parts and clean them as well. This needs to be done every day and at the end of every week, and recorded in the spa chair’s cleaning log.

During an inspection, Board inspectors will usually either ask that the shop remove the parts for inspection or remove them themselves — Board inspectors all carry screwdrivers and other tools for that purpose — if the licensee in charge doesn’t know how. Not knowing how will get an inspector’s attention.

"What I usually do is ask them to open (the screens)," says one longtime Board inspector. "The reason is that it lets me know they know to open them. How can they be cleaning them if they don’t know to open them?"

A collection of debris is a sure sign that a pedicure station is not being cleaned properly. In extreme cases, it can lead to one of the more serious citations an inspector can issue: an immediate suspension of the establishment's license.

Under Section 973 of the California Code of Regulations the grounds for immediate suspension are:

(a) Pedicure foot spas, basins, or tubs that are not visibly clean;

(b) Pedicure foot spas in which debris has been found upon the removal of screens, jets, foot-plates, or impellers;

(c) Inadequate cleaning material for the proper disinfection and sanitation of manicuring and/or pedicuring equipment found on-site at the establishment;

(d) No pedicure cleaning logs;

(e) A history of repeated health and safety violations pertaining to manicuring or pedicuring equipment; or

(f) Manicure and/or pedicure implements that are not visibly clean.

In addition to fines of up to $500 per station, the licensee will be placed on probation for a year and will need to take remedial training, as well as submit to other probation terms.

Clearly, that screwdriver is an important piece of salon equipment. Learn to use it everyday.

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