Ergonomics is increasingly being incorporated into backwash chair and wash-point design to protect stylists as well as to improve the client experience, say manufacturers.
It’s well-known some of the most common health and safety complaints reported by stylists are arm, neck and shoulder aches and pains. That’s hardly surprising, given the nature of the job: standing for long periods, working intensively with your arms and hands, often being bent over a client.
It’s also one reason why ergonomics is becoming more and more important within the design of backwash chairs and wash-stations.
As Stephen Ewings of wholesaler Aston & Fincher’s salon design and furniture department explains, the constraints of poor design and planning and simply the small amount of physical space in many salons meant wash-points historically were often plumbed in against walls.
This may have been convenient in terms of design and fit-out, but it inevitably means as a stylist you are only able to work from a single side.
“The result is lots of twisting and turning of the spine, causing undue pressure. Working from the side also means the head massage/shampoo is often uneven and a less enjoyable experience for the client,” he points out.
“The key elements all basins must have are a basic tilt mechanism that enables the basin to be angled at a comfortable position. However, developments in both design and manufacturing, teamed with a better understanding of the potential damage that may be caused, has resulted in furniture manufacturers pushing designers to look at ergonomics and movement in greater detail,” he adds.
It’s now much more common with modern wash-points for basins to be sculpted not just for clients’ necks but to better accommodate the therapist or stylist. “This enables you to work closer to the head while still maintaining a straight back or spine,” Stephen says.
“The Gamma & Bross Celebrity chair has gone a step further and now incorporates a sliding mechanism that enables the basin to glide forwards and backwards, which again has benefits for staff and clients alike.
“The benefits for staff are a straighter back, whereas the gliding mechanism means the basin can be positioned to further support the client’s neck. Gamma & Bross are also about to launch a redeveloped Ultrawash wash-point called the Ultrawash Up, where the entire chair can now be lifted, meaning the overall height of the basin can be adjusted,” Stephen adds.
He also cites the example of AGV Group, which has developed a wash-point called the Milos that can be used in conjunction with a therapist’s stool, and therefore enables the stylist to work in a seated position. Albert Ewan, of Albert Ewan Design, highlights innovations such as the Ergowash from Nelson Mobilier.
“This is the first backwash chair where the whole backwash moves up and down, for the comfort of the operator/staff. It means no more slouching or stooping over and the client is also better cared for because of having a tilting basin and electric leg lift/rest,” he explains.
Another innovation of the Ergowash is that it comes with anti-drip taps/aqua-stop as standard, which means the stylist no longer gets water running down the handset hose, which in turn of course can be a potential floor health and safety hazard.
Albert also cites the Alum from Spanish firm PAHI Barcelona as a good example of ergonomics being incorporated into design.
“This is fully adjustable to get the client’s comfort absolutely right. It can elevate the client when they are fully reclined and the basin can move forwards and backwards, up and down and tilt as well,” he adds.
If you read nothing else read this…
- Ergonomics is becoming a more important factor in design
- Basins are increasingly incorporating tilt mechanisms
- In some chairs the whole backwash can move up or down