Document Type

Journal Article


CCH Australia Limited


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management / Centre for Innovative Practice




This article was originally published as: O'Loughlin, M. A., & Oosthuizen, J. D. (2012). An investigation of health problems among female hairdressers in Western Australia. Journal of Health, Safety and Environment , 28(2), 147-160. Original article available here


Female hairdressers in Western Australia were surveyed to determine the occurrence of health problems that may be associated with their work environment. The cohort of 238 hairdressers reported poor health behaviours including a poor dietary and fluid intake; a high prevalence of smoking; and a low level of glove usage when undertaking wet work and handling non-discolouring chemicals. Younger hairdressers were found to be most at risk of increased respiratory illness, musculoskeletal problems, skin conditions, bowel issues and general poor health. When compared with data obtained from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH), younger hairdressers reported a higher prevalence of common health problems than the ALSWH cohort, while mid age and older hairdressers were deemed to be as healthy as the comparative group. It is likely that this age-related difference is attributable to the “healthy worker effect”.