More than 50,000 people work in salons all over Abu Dhabi and all of them will undergo training in order to get a licence.
Salon staff to take test under new rules
ABU DHABI // Workers in salons will have to pass an examination after professional training courses under rules introduced by the municipality.
Salon owners will have a year to comply, said Khalifa Al Rumaithi, the director of public health.
Salon workers will have two chances to pass their exam and afterwards must display their certificates with a photo.
Mr Al Rumaithi said: "The situation is anyone can apply for a salon in Abu Dhabi and after getting the licence he can open it. We think this is not the right way.
"Now we are going to implement a new rule to opening a salon.
"In fact, what happened [was] somebody whose father was a carpenter or barber, he applied for it and opened the salon. Hygiene does not come by generation, one needs to learn about it to practise."
All salon workers, whether they are barbers, manicurists or stylists, must undergo the training and get a licence.
They will be taught proper personal hygiene, how to clean salon equipment and how to operate it.
There are 1,200 men's and women's salons in Abu Dhabi, including Banyias, Shahama and Al Wathba. There are 600 on Abu Dhabi island.
It is estimated there are more than 50,000 people working salons. Some of the larger establishments have as many as 40 employees.
Mr Al Rumaithi also said the municipality received a complaint in December that a salon client received third-degree burns from black henna, which contains petrochemicals.
"When we inspected the salon we did not find any black henna because they hid it," he said. "Then we sent a customer asking for black henna, the shop asked her to come at 10pm.
"When she entered at 10pm and they started using black henna on her, we captured them red-handed. The black henna was mixed with petrol and Adnoc lube. We referred the matter to the court and [the salon] was fined Dh8,000."
Mr Al Rumaithi said the municipality had begun confiscating illegal equipment used in salons, including hair-removal machines, laser machines and tattoo equipment. "Those who were using these machines, their cases have already been referred to the court," he said.
Some salons were found having four or five unauthorised machines.
"Every day we find new machines in the market, so from now we have a new procedure that we ask those traders who import it from overseas to first obtain a licence from the Ministry of Health [MoH]" before selling it, Mr Al Rumaithi said.
"The MoH looks after these machines so the licence and approval should come from them to use it."
Salon owners, he said, will buy any machine on the market and use it in their salons.
"We want to curb this practice."
The municipality has had success in reducing the number of illegal machines.
Since May, six machines have been seized, compared to 40 in all of 2011 and 100 in 2009. Most of the machines were found at ladies salons, he said.
Laser and skin-related machines must be licensed by the Ministry of Health and can only be used at clinics under the supervision of a doctor.
The number of inspectors has increased in the past few years, with 35 women and 85 men checking on salon conditions.
According to the municipality, two salons were shut down in 2011 whereas none has been closed so far this year.