A relaxing and indulgent break at a luxury health spa is the ideal getaway for many women, with upmarket Champneys spa hotels being a particularly popular option. Health spas offer a range of facilities and beauty treatments for their guests to choose from. Spa operators are legally obliged to ensure that all areas of their premises are safe for guests at all times, and that the pampering treatments they offer are carried out in safe manner by qualified, competent beauty therapists.
Where a guest is injured at a health spa through no fault of their own, it will often be possible to make a claim against the spa’s owners. Apart from financial considerations, compensation claims have the additional benefit of driving up industry safety standards, making it less likely that similar accidents and injuries will occur in the future.
Health spas need to maintain very high standards of sanitation to prevent bacteria and germs posing a risk to the health of visitors. Spa pools, including hot tubs and whirlpool baths, are perfect breeding grounds for potentially dangerous organisms, and at many spas the water is not changed regularly. Often chlorine will added as an alternative to proper filtering, draining and disinfecting of spa pools, and while this will reduce the amount of bacteria in the water, it will not destroy all germs, including groups of microorganisms in which cells stick to one another (biolfilms).
Germ transmission from hard surfaces at spas is another risk, particularly during beauty treatments. Data from the UK Spa Association indicates that occupancy of treatment rooms at spas during opening hours is around 40%, meaning that they are not in use for the majority of the time. This creates an environment in which bacteria and germs can flourish unless vigilant cleaning standards are maintained. Sanitation is therefore a major concern at health spas, and visitors should be alert to the potential dangers.
Slips on wet and recently cleaned floor surfaces are one of the most regularly reported accident types at health spas. Spillages must be dealt with by staff as soon as they are identified, and a good system of inspection and cleaning is essential in keeping floor surfaces safe. Where it is inevitable that areas will be wet and slippery, next to a whirlpool spa for example, anti-slip matting should be in place to prevent accidents, and warning signs should be posted to alert guests to potential slipping hazards. Health spa operators must take all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of slip and trip accidents as far as possible, and failures in this area can be grounds for a claim to be made against them, based on their negligence in failing to take the necessary safety precautions that would have stopped a guest from getting injured.
Health spas and beauty therapists must observe detailed legislation concerning the handling, storage and disposal of chemicals, particularly the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002. This extends from cleaning products and disinfectants, through to potentially hazardous chemicals contained in certain beauty treatment products, including nail varnish and nail varnish remover. Safety procedures must be in place to make sure that clients are not exposed to dangerous chemicals at health spas from whatever source. Sanitation is another major concern, due to the ability of viruses and infections to spread among guests via shared spa facilities, and health spa operators must take the necessary measures to deal with this potential risk.
Beauty therapists are further obliged to carry out treatments they offer, such as waxing procedures, in a reasonably competent manner, achieving the client’s desired results without injuring them in the process. Where the risk of an allergic reaction to a treatment or product exists, therapists must carry out skin patch tests on new customers, to identify allergies and determine whether or not to proceed. Severe allergic reactions are not uncommon, and can lead to immediate hospitalisation for the individual concerned. Poorly trained and inexperienced therapists may also cause injuries by failing to exercise reasonable care and skill during treatments, and this can be grounds for a successful compensation claim against the health spa in question.