Health, Safety and Wellness in Nail Salon Workers

Occupational training is designed to protect workers from hazards in the workplace. Although basic training in chemical safety is required as part of the nail technician curriculum and technicians are required to pass a safety component on the certification licensing exam, nail technicians and salon owners are concerned about the health effects from chemical exposure. And although many of the available materials emphasize the need for using products correctly to reduce exposures, there are no studies that have examined the impact of worker education and training on safety practices and exposure of nail salon workers, which include a large number of immigrants. 


The Oregon Collaborative for Healthy Nail Salons (OCHNS; was formed in 2007 to create solutions to environmental, health and safety challenges in salons by sharing ideas, knowledge and practical experience. This group is a diverse mix of stakeholders (Oregon OSHA, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Health Licensing Agency, the Multnomah County Health Department, Oregon Health & Science University/CROET and School of Nursing). Pilot funding from CROET was used to build a partnership between research scientists and key community partners to engage the community of nail salon workers. The initial goal is to identify and evaluate the concerns and perceived needs of the nail salon community and then to develop effective intervention material.


Partnering with Asian and Health Services (AHS;, a community-based organization located in Portland, researchers from CROET surveyed 65 salon workers on workplace health and safety concerns and perceived needs. The primary concerns of the salon workers included the impact of the economy on their work, health concerns and access to healthcare. The majority of salon workers were interested in learning more about creating a healthier workplace and the internet and brochures were the preferred method to receive this information. Informational brochures were developed to address the primary concerns identified in the survey. These brochures will be translated into Vietnamese and reviewed by salon workers.  This information will be available on the Oregon Collaborative for Healthy Nail Salons website (

salon card
Nail Salon Card