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Can You Survive a Spa Inspection?

By: Regina M. Tucker
Posted: May 1, 2013, from the May 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Don’t slip so far into your everyday routine that you become lazy in your efforts to comply with state rules governing your spa. Preparation plays a significant role in surviving a routine spa inspection. You can prepare your spa and team members for an inspection in the following ways.

Stay up-to-date on state laws and regulations. State laws and regulations governing the practice of cosmetology are constantly changing; new licenses are regularly created. For example, on its website, the Texas Advisory Board on Cosmetology and Authority recently added a new eyelash extension specialty license and adopted new sterilization requirements. It is important to make sure you are adhering to the most current laws; ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

The best resource for staying abreast of new guidelines that might be part of an inspection is your state’s board of cosmetology. New guidelines and explanations are often posted online and also are reflected in meeting minutes from previous state board meetings. By reviewing your state board’s monthly meeting minutes, you can find what violations are popping up most frequently. The state of Maryland, for example, has a tab of disciplinary actions on its website where you can review all of the disciplinary actions for licensees and spas in the state. Bookmark your state board’s website and check it often.

Perform random self-inspections. Ensure that your skin care facility is operated in a manner that is consistent with state board standards by conducting random self-inspections. Create a list of common violations and randomly check for them. Doing so will help you stay in compliance with your state’s requirements and reduce violations. Items that should make your list of common violations include establishment licenses, personal licenses, and health and sanitation practices. After you complete an initial self-inspection, identify and create a list of all compliance issues; prioritize by significance, ranking those with the greatest and costliest consequences highest on your list followed by those easiest to correct. Document a strategy and time line for addressing each issue. Immediately take action to address threats to clients’ safety. Get your staff members to help—this not only gets them involved, but also strengthens their awareness of acceptable and unacceptable practices in the spa.

Prepare with your team. Discuss the potential for state board inspections and their scope with your team, and include a discussion of areas in the spa the inspector is permitted to access. Educate your employees on the procedures involved in an inspection and discuss their rights.