The Covering Beauty Blog

Everything you need to know about insurance for your beauty business.

What Happens When OSHA Inspects Your Business?

Posted February 5th, 2014 by Jeff Pulford

True Story as Told to Jeff Pulford

This is my story about how an OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Agency) inspection affected my salon.  It is not intended to criticize OSHA or seek sympathy for myself.  (Ignorance is not a defense for non-compliance of a law.)  Safety for our employees and our clients is a serious matter.  A publicized safety or health incident could severely damage our industry.  What I hope to achieve by telling my story is to wake up our industry so that we are not a targeted group by OSHA in the future.

The beauty business must protect itself from negative publicity that could occur if we had a serious illness if we had a serious illness or injury.  We deal with chemicals and sharp tools every day.  Our workers have the right to a safe workplace, to understand what is in the products they use at work and to know how to protect themselves from hazardous chemicals.  When stylists use hazardous products, it is the responsibility of the salon owner or employer to follow OSHA’s standards.

OSHA OSHA regulates workplace safety.  Although OSHA regulations do not include a section specifically for salons or spas, all employers are subject to the general regulation that requires a workplace to be free from known hazards.  In addition to this general regulation, several specific OSHA regulations may apply to your salon or spa depending on its operations.

inspector-at-workI learned about these regulations the hard way at 1pm April 10th, 2013.  That was the day an OSHA inspector walked into my business.  OSHA inspections can be conducted without advance notice.  An inspector may walk through you salon to document what they see, review records, monitor chemical exposure and check overall sanitation, health, and safety conditions.  The inspector had what she called a Formal Employee Complaint, a written complaint where OSHA must conduct an on-site visit.  My choice was to cooperate and let her inspect the facility or she would come back with a search warrant.  It seemed like the best thing to do was to just let her do her inspection.

The issue that triggered the inspection was a written complaint from a current or past employee about the fumes given off from the solvent we used to clean the salon.  The inspector asked for a tour of the work areas, a copy of all hazardous chemicals, Personal Protection Equipment plan and proof of employee training.  She informed me that although she was there because of the one specific complaint, she had the right to cite me up to $7500 for any other violations she found.

The difficult thing about that day was that for 31 years of business, I always took pride in doing things the right way.  I complied with the best of my knowledge to any federal or state regulations.  In all of my education and reading of industry publications, I never learned anything about OSHA.  I only heard of OSHA when there was an accident at a large company.  What I didn’t know that day was that I was about to learn the hard way about OSHA regulations.


MSDSThe first thing the inspector wanted to see was a copy of my Hazard Communication and a list of MSDS sheets for all of our chemicals.  I had no idea what a Hazard Communication was at the time.  I had seen MSDS sheets from some of my distributors, but had no idea what to do with them.  I was caught off guard and totally unprepared.

Personal Protection Equipment Plan:

When we went to the supply room the inspector wanted to see my workplace hazard assessment for salon employees handling solvents and other chemicals.  The hazard assessment would evaluate the need for personal protective equipment (PPE), including appropriate gloves, eye protection, etc. while handling these materials.  Although we always provided gloves to the employees, I had no idea what a workplace assessment was.

The inspector then wanted to see the process we use for hair & nail services.  She wanted to monitor air quality while the staff was conducting these services.  While they were doing this she informed me that she had the right to speak to any and all of my employees.  That process consumed 4 hours of my employee’s time, which I was responsible to pay their wages at that time.

After all the drama of the inspection day it took three months before I heard back from OSHA.  I received a certified letter informing me that I was being cited for the following citations:

Citation 1:

The employer had not completed a Workplace Hazard Assessment for salon employees banding and pouring solvents and other chemicals.

Citation 2:

Employer supplied Microflex Ultraderm examining gloves for salon employees cleaning with solvents and using other chemicals.  These gloves are not rated as chemically resistant and do not maintain structural integrity under conditions of use.

Citation 3:

The employer did not have a written Hazard Communication Program for salon employees who were exposed to various chemicals, on site.

Citation 4:

Salon employees had not been trained on the requirements of the Hazard Communication or on the hazards associated with the use of those chemicals used in the salon.

The fines incurred for these citations totaled $9000.  I had 14 days to appeal the fines and meet with the regional director for OSHA.  I was advised to always appeal the fines.  In most cases the fines will be reduced.

osha-think-safety-firstThe fines were reduced in half to $4500 after meeting with the regional director.  In addition he required me to have an onsite safety consultation with California Occupational Safety and Health.  This is a free program to help businesses comply with OSHA regulations.  They helped me to abate all the violations that I was cited for and helped with other compliance issues.

Each state has a free onsite consultation program.  You can contact these agencies through the or by calling your local OSHA office.  I would highly recommend getting help from the onsite consultation program.  In my case I would not have been able to set up my program without their help.  This will help to make sure your program is set up correctly and lessen the chances of costly fines.  They will assist in setting up your safety program and identify any safety violations before you incur any violations.


The best place to start is at the OSHA website, .  Search for “Compliance Assistance Quick Start” and you will get an overview of 7 steps you will need to follow.  This will give you a great start to developing your OSHA plan.  This is a great place to start to learn what you need to do.


Are you sure you’re covered?

Posted January 26th, 2014 by Jeff Pulford

We here at InsureBeauty happily answer many questions from our beauty industry clients and have certainly heard many….  Some that we think might be helpful for beauty professionals are, as follows:


How do I determine a Business Personal Property limit for my salon?

  • Think of all your equipment, inventory, product and any improvements you have done to your business space, such as sinks or basins.  Then add up all their values and you will get the amount of Business Personal Property for your insurance policy.


Do I need General & Professional Liability?

  • Yes you do.  General Liability is for the slip & fall due to water on the floor or trip & fall due to a cord across the floor.  Professional Liability is for a burned scalp or an infected finger due to “your work”.  Theses are examples of each type of liability.

Is my policy as a booth renter/independent contractor location specific for liability?

  • No. The booth renter/independent contractor general & professional liability policy follows you to any location where you are providing beauty services.
  • If you’re relying on the salon policy it only covers you when you are working for the salon.

    monthly bill

Do I have to pay all at once & upfront to get a booth renter policy?

  • No. The company we use offers direct bill payment plans with one to six payment options, with no installment fees!  Premium starts at an annual rate of $225!

If you have a more specific question, please call our office toll-free at: 855-257-0088 or visit our website at

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Happy New Year

Posted January 6th, 2014 by Jeff Pulford


We’d like to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year!

happy new year

We hope your 2014 is off to a great start!  InsureBeauty is looking forward to another year as the beauty industry’s insurance specialist.  We plan to continue blogging about relevant issues that concern the beauty industry but hope to also keep it fun and interesting when possible.

If you have any suggestions for future blog topics, please email

For insurance for your salon, spa, beauty college, barbershop, or booth, please visit or call 855-257-0088

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Merry Christmas!

Posted December 23rd, 2013 by Jeff Pulford

Wishing You and Yours a


& Happy New Year

-The InsureBeauty Team: Jeff, Ashley, Barb, Becky, & Katie 





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Small Business Saturday

Posted November 12th, 2013 by Jeff Pulford

As a small business, the insurance agency of many small businesses (including many independent contractors), and supporters of our local community, we’d like to do our part to promote Small Business Saturday happening this November 30th.

The American Small Business Saturday happens the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was created to help small, independently owned, and local businesses during the big box retail of Black Friday and the e-commerce shopping on Cyber Monday.

We’ve taken the pledge to shop small and local on November 30th and hope you will too.  Help us spread the word by using hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall

To read stories visit the official Facebook page:

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Covering Your Assets:

Posted November 1st, 2013 by Jeff Pulford

How to Insure Your Business

Have you received your November issue of Stylist?  Our president Jeff Pulford is featured in an article by The Beauty Professional, Fred Jones appearing in the California, Texas, & Florida Stylist.  The article includes some very interesting and important questions and answers for salon & spa owners as well as independent contractors.

Here is one of the questions asked by Fred:

‘When I think of assets, I think of buildings, personal property and other items, including cash.  Is that accurate?”

Jeff’s answer is, “Most people think assets are simply the tangible things of their business like cash, buildings, personal property, leased property, business personal property (chairs, sinks, hairdryers, etc.), security systems, cell phones, etc.  A salon business has many other types of critical assets, for example the valuable skills of employees and/or independent contractors, a good salon location with a favorable long-term lease, good credit… and don’t forget about a business’s reputation.  Those are also very important business assets that need to be protected.  When anything happens to any of the above – tangible or intangible – the result could be devastating to a salon.”

For more great questions and insight on covering your assets, read the full article.

Covering Your A$$ets

Do you have a question about covering your salon assets that wasn’t addressed in the article?  Email to submit your questions to InsureBeauty’s President.

InsureBeauty’s ad also appearing on page 16 of the California Stylist.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted October 1st, 2013 by Jeff Pulford

October is breast cancer awareness month and InsureBeauty is going pink!

We would like to encourage everyone to do what they can to increase awareness and if you are willing and able, to donate to cancer research.

According to Elizabeth Hurley, the face of Estée Lauder’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, the more active we all are in increasing awareness, early detection, and raising money for cancer research, the more lives we save.

To learn more about how you can help visit:


To learn more about how you can get involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, visit:

Go Pink on your Facebook, Blog, Websites, etc.  A collection of banners and badges like the one below can be found at:

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InsureBeauty receives 2013 Best of Salinas Award

Posted September 12th, 2013 by Jeff Pulford

We are proud to share that InsureBeauty has received the 2013 Best of Salinas Award.  We would like to thank our industry partners and most of all our customers.

Salinas Award

Press Release


Insure Beauty Receives 2013 Best of Salinas Award

Salinas Award Program Honors the Achievement

SALINAS September 5, 2013 — Insure Beauty has been selected for the 2013 Best of Salinas Award in the Insurance category by the Salinas Award Program.

Each year, the Salinas Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Salinas area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Salinas Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Salinas Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Salinas Award Program

The Salinas Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Salinas area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Salinas Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Salinas Award Program

Salinas Award Program


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Attention Beauty Industry – We Can Write Your Personal Insurance Too!

Posted July 30th, 2013 by Jeff Pulford

Yes indeed, InsureBeauty is the insurance specialist that Salons, Spas, Barbershops, Beauty Colleges, & Booth Renters have come to know and trust to provide quality insurance coverage at great prices.  Did you know we can also provide the same quality insurance coverage, great price, and excellent customer service for your personal insurance needs through our parent company ISU-Pulford Insurance?

Our staff at ISU-Pulford Insurance does the due diligence on the insurance companies we work with to ensure that they are of the highest quality for our customers.  We would like to congratulate one of our favorite companies, Mercury Insurance, on their 50th anniversary as well as being named one of “America’s Most Trustworthy Companies” by Forbes magazine.


Mercury CEO explains, “Mercury is in the midst of celebrating its 50th anniversary and this prestigious honor from Forbes validates our long-standing efforts to supply affordable insurance and unsurpassed service for our millions of customers.  For the past five decades Mercury has operated with the belief that personal relationships are important to consumers, and these relationships – whether with the company or with our agents – help to create trust.  This blueprint is obviously still true today.”

Read more about Mercury Insurance’s 50th Anniversary here.

Read more about Mercury Insurance’s Forbes listing here.

If you’d like to learn more about the personal coverages offered by Mercury Insurance, call to speak to one of ISU-Pulford Insurance’s licensed agents at 1-800-606-6111.

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Money Talks – FICA Tip Tax for Salons & Spas

Posted July 18th, 2013 by Jeff Pulford

FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) is tax paid by employees and employers to the federal government to fund Social Security and Medicare.  

Our blog this week is passing along information from PBA (Professional Beauty Association), the largest beauty industry association in the U.S.  PBA is urging advocates to support FICA Tip Tax Fairness, as congress is debating tax reform legislation.

“PBA has been an active part of these efforts and in frequent contact with key policymakers in the tax arena to build support for and request that any tax reform proposal include the tip tax credit for the salon industry. This Small Business Equalization and Tax Compliance Act would provide salon owners with a dollar for dollar tip tax credit for FICA taxes paid on employee tips.”                                 -Bridget Sharpe, PBA

In an article in Stylist Newspapers from last year, salon owner Andre Chreky stated:  “Not getting involved is handing over a check every year to the federal government for taxes on money that you, as the employer or business owner, did not earn, do not profit from and that you can’t use to grow your business.”  The article goes on to say, “The professional beauty industry is the second highest tipped industry in the U.S., just behind the restaurant industry. Unfairly, Congress has segmented the restaurant industry by allowing them since 1993 to claim a dollar-for-dollar FICA Tip Tax Credit on employee tip income. Salon and spa owners pay on average $11,000 in taxes per year on employee tip income, income that the owner does not benefit from.”

Read the entire article from Stylist Newspapers or sign the PBA’s letter of support, click here.

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