Nail salon workers irked by safety regulation delays
Nail salon workers are calling for change, saying that they are being exposed to toxic chemicals and poor working conditions
Gov. Kathy Hochul recently delayed the rule that would require nail salons to install ventilation systems that could prevent manicurists and customers from inhaling harmful chemicals.
Members of The New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition are calling out Gov. Hochul, saying she is failing to protect workers. Executive director Charlene Obernauer says they’ve been advocating for legislation to improve the conditions for nail salon workers, most recently pushing for the Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act.
Obernauer says the act would create a board of nail salon workers, small business owners, and state officials to put into place industry-wide wage, safety, and workplace standards.
In a tweet posted by the coalition on Thursday, they wrote in part: “In response to New York nail salon workers' heroic organizing for better conditions, the state of New York concluded that new ventilation standards were required in order to protect workers. That was half a decade ago. Our state's nail technicians cannot afford to wait any longer for basic measures to protect themselves from toxic chemicals.”
She says the delay is an example of how workers are exploited on the job due to low wages and poor working conditions and not being able to negotiate or even have a conversation with leaders in power.
Obernauer says the delay is even more problematic because of COVID-19.
She says good ventilation helps to lessen the exposure to the virus while on the job.
The Department of State says they have issued an emergency regulation to allow businesses an additional six months to meet those ventilation standards. They say it will be extended until Oct. 4. Here's its full statement:
"Due to the economic hardships of COVID 19 Pandemic, the Department of State has issued an emergency regulation to allow businesses an additional 6 months to meet the appropriate ventilation standards. The Department’s Division of Licensing has extended the period until October 4. The Department has also worked closely with nail salon businesses to inform them about the extension and walk them through the process to achieve the required compliance. For more information go to https://dos.ny.gov/licensing-services."