The Ugly Reality About The Beauty Industry

The Ugly Reality About The Beauty Industry

The beauty industry connotes ideas of glamour and sophistication. However for beauty therapists and people working in the industry this is often far from the truth.

Beauty Therapists who undertake Deep Tissue Massage therapy do repetitive, constant and forceful work on a daily basis. This can lead to the development of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). RSI is caused by a combination of overuse and repetition, awkward or static posture and insufficient recovery time.

Definition of Repetitive Strain Injury

RSI is the name given to a group of injuries affecting the muscles, tendons and nerves primarily of the neck and upper limbs. It is an umbrella term and is also known as Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD).

There are two types of RSI:-

  • Specific Named Conditions – these include tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, tennis elbow, De Quervain’s Syndrome, etc.
  • Diffuse RSI – this is where there is no clear-cut diagnosis but a range of symptoms exist. Sometimes it is known as non-specific pain syndrome

Symptoms of RSI

  • Pain in the hands
  • Forearms
  • Wrists
  • Fingers
  • Palm of the hand
  • Elbows
  • Shoulders

Duties of employers

Employers have a duty of care to all employees to ensure they are refrained from any risks through preventing them from developing any injury:

  • by carrying out adequate risk assessments to assess the likelihood of the employee developing RSI through deep tissue massage
  • by devising a system of work where the employees tasks are rotated or varied throughout the day, so the periods of work involving fast repetitive movement of their hands, fingers, thumbs and arms are interspersed with alternative work which did not involve any significant movement of their fingers and thumbs
  • By Heeding complaints made by employees in respect of any symptoms they might have started to suffer with as a result of RSI

At Roberts Jackson we have had many successful cases where the above duties have been breached by employers; one example of a successful case is as follows:

Ms B was employed as a beauty therapist and carried out constant, long hours of deep tissue massages on her client’s. Ms B started to experience pain and discomfort in both of her arms and subsequently consulted her GP. Ms B was signed off work due to the pain caused by the repetitive nature of deep tissue massage. Upon her return there was no formal return to work plan was devised nor were any risk assessments carried out. Ms B consulted Roberts Jackson Solicitors and successfully retrieved the damages that she deserved as a result of her employers negligence in failing to alleviate her pain and constant, long hours of repetitive work.

Case Law

Beauty Therapists, who develop RSI as a result of deep tissue massage, came to the forefront following the case of (1) Elizabeth King (2) Emily Rimmer v Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd (2005). They were awarded £100,000 and £26,000 respectively after developing RSI.

If you are suffering from pains in your hands, wrists elbows or shoulders and work as a beauty therapist and your job entails deep tissue massage please telephone us for free legal advice on 0808 252 5504