York Region Public Health inspects spas and salons and provides training to operators and workers to prevent the spread of infections. In York Region, salons and spas must pass a Public Health Inspection and post the latest Public Health Proof of Inspection sign.
You can learn how to be spa safe by reading the Be Spa Safe guide
To protect yourself from infections at the salon and spa:
- Check your salon's or spa's latest YorkSafe inspection report before you go
- Know what to look for once at the salon or spa
- Read the Be Spa Safe Checklists (below)
- Make an informed decision and report concerns
Five Steps to Protect Yourself at the Spa
- Check before you go. Check for a Proof of Public Health Inspection pass sign. Check york.ca/yorksafe for the salon or spa’s latest inspection report showing any health related charges and orders.
- Know what to look for before you book or receive a spa service.
- Look around and ask questions. Ask staff how they clean and disinfect and which items are single use only.
- Make an informed decision and refuse service if you are uncomfortable. You have a right to have a safe, clean service that is given with clean tools and clean hands.
- Report concerns or complaints. Call Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-512-6228 to discuss your concerns or file an anonymous complaint about a spa’s cleaning and disinfection practices.
Be Spa Safe Checklists
These checklists outline what to look for before you receive a service:
- General checklist for all spa services
- Manicure, pedicure and nail treatment services checklist
- Waxing services checklist
- Facial services checklist
- Hairdressing services checklist
- Ear piercing services checklist
For more information, see the Be Spa Safe guide.
Frequently Asked Spa Safety Questions
Q: How can infections spread?
A: Serious infections can spread whenever infected skin, blood or body fluid comes into contact with another person.
If a spa worker is not properly washing his or her hands, or cleaning and disinfecting the tools and work surfaces, there is a risk of germs being transferred from one client to another. This can happen when:
- The client’s skin is touched directly
- There is a cut, tear or open wound on the client’s skin
Serious infections can be spread at salons and spas if they are not following proper precautions. They include:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Skin infections
- Nail fungus
Q: How should spa tools be properly handled?
A: There are many different tools that are used at spas. Some are to be used once and thrown away, as they cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected after each use. Other tools can be used more than once but must be cleaned and disinfected or sterilized between each client.
Refer to the Be Spa Safe Checklists to see which tools are to be used only once (single-use) and which ones are reusable. Do not be afraid to ask your spa for new single-use tools before your service.
Q: How should tools and work surfaces be cleaned?
A: Here are the proper steps for cleaning and disinfecting tools and work surfaces:
- Clean with water and detergent to remove dirt and debris
- Apply disinfectant to kill germs
Different tools need to be treated with different levels of disinfectant. For example, tools that come into contact with blood or body fluids must be treated with a higher level of disinfectant or be sterilized. Do not be afraid to ask your spa how they clean and disinfect their tools and work surfaces. See the Be Spa Safe Checklists section for more information.
Q: When should I avoid spa services?
A: You should avoid getting a spa service when you have:
- A cut, tear or open wound
- A rash or skin infection
- Irritated or severely dry and chapped skin
- Just shaved your legs (avoid getting a pedicure)
Q: Does York Region inspect spas?
A: Yes. York Region public health inspectors inspect salons and spas at least once a year to:
- Make sure salons and spas follow proper steps to reduce the risk of infection
- Educate salon and spa operators and workers on best practice requirements
- Respond to consumer complaints
York Region Public Health also inspects spas that operate out of private homes. For your protection, we recommend that you choose a salon or spa that is inspected. If a salon or spa passes an inspection, it will receive a green Proof of Public Health Inspection sign to post at its location.
York Region also provides spa owners, operators and workers voluntary training on how to prevent infections at the spa.
Spa Safety Videos
Check out these videos on infection prevention and control practices for salon and spa services:
Used with permission from Region of Waterloo, Public Health, 2017.
What is considered a salon or spa?
Salons and spas are also referred to as personal services settings. They can be offered in a store, private home or at special events such as trade shows, conventions, exhibitions, fairs and mobile premises. The following services may be offered:
- Nail services (manicures and pedicures)
- Ear piercing
- Tattoo and body piercing
Spa Protocol, Regulation and Infection Prevention and Control Guide
Public Health inspects personal service settings as required under the Ontario Public Health Standards for Infection Prevention and Control, 2019 at least once every 12 months to ensure compliance with the Personal Service Settings Regulation 136/18 and adherence to infection prevention and control practices. This regulation does not apply to a setting where the personal services are mainly provided by a member of a health professional under the Regulated Health Profession Act, who is engaged in the practice of his or her profession.
Operators can learn about best practices by reading Guide to Infection Prevention and Control in Personal Service Settings, 2019. This document provides the minimum standards for cleaning, disinfection, sterilization of equipment, maintenance of the premises, personal hygiene and basic infection control practices to reduce the risk of blood borne infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C , HIV and other types of infection for both clients and personal services settings workers.
Be Spa Safe Promotion
Public Health makes Be Spa Safe posters and guides available to physician offices and community agencies for infection prevention promotion. For additional/replacement materials, call Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-512-6228
Request a Be Spa Safe display for your health promotion special event. Public Health has the following Be Spa Safe materials: retractable banner, posters, quiz wheel, static displays, guides, electronic signs, wallet cards and giveaways/prizes. Please contact Public Health to discuss your event by calling Health Connection 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-512-6228
Spa Safety Resources
Resources for Spa and Salon Operators and Workers
- Accidental Blood and Body Fluid Exposure Recording Form
- All About Cleaning Chart for Personal Services Settings
- Instrument Disinfection for Personal Service Settings
- Preparing Household Bleach as a Disinfectant
- Notice of Intention: New Personal Service Settings Operation; Additional Services; Construction
- Personal Protective Equipment: putting on and taking off PPE