New York passes law to protect nail salon workers
Employees of the estimated 3,000 nail salons in New York state have some new regulatory protections, after the passage of bills A. 7630A and S. 05966 by the state legislature. The legislation ensures that trainees have access to proper training on safety and preventing infection and allows the state to shut down salons that repeatedly flout the law and evade health and safety inspections by operating without a license.
According to OSHA nail salon workers may be exposed to toxic chemicals that can cause eye, skin and throat irritations, difficulty breathing, asthma and cancer. Chemicals used in nail salons include Acetone, acetonitrile, butyl acetate dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde and methacrylic acid.
The tens of thousands of nail salon workers covered by the bill are mostly Latina and Asian immigrant women. Salon workers are often exposed to dangerous health hazards on the job and earn as little as $35 per day. Cases of wage theft are common.
The measure also creates licensing program – something the the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition says will help protect workers from abusive employers.
The bill authorizes New York's Department of State to shut down salons that break the law.
The Healthy Nail Salons Coalition and worker-members praised the bill's support for unlicensed-and often undocumented-nail salon workers.
"The Legislature and the Governor have taken a huge step forward in creating healthier nail salons for workers and consumers. Nail salons will ultimately be safer, healthier places for consumers and workers as a result of this legislation," said Charlene Obernauer, co-founder of the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition and Executive Director of NYCOSH.