5.3 Your own safety

As covered previously, WHS requires you to not only keep your clients safe, but you must also keep yourself safe! Hygiene, sterilisation and sanitation keep everyone safe, and for your own personal safety, there are three key areas that you need to be aware of:

Ergonomics and body position

As a spray tanning technician, you will be on your feet for most of the day, and you will often be bending down a fair bit to get eye level with the bottom section of your client’s body. In addition to this, the way your work area is set up throughout your services is equally important.

Key phrase | Ergonomics: the process of designing or arranging your treatment area, products and systems so that they meet your specific needs.

No two work areas will ever be set up the same because we all have different needs. People who are taller may be able to store certain products at a further distance than those of us who are shorter. If you need to use a step or a ladder to reach items that you use regularly, you are adding additional risk where there doesn’t need to be!

To set up your workspace ergonomically, you need to think about the space you are working within and the sorts of products, tools, and equipment you use frequently and less frequently. Unless you are blessed with a huge treatment area with loads of storage space and working space, you will need to strategically think about where everything needs to be placed. Ergonomics also includes factors such as:

  • The height of equipment
  • The weight of products, heavy products should be stored lower to the ground
  • Your body position and posture
  • Proper ventilation
  • Correct lighting
  • Minimal noise
  • Correcting handling techniques for tools, lifting objects and using products

The ergonomic requirements for an office would be different to those of your spray tanning treatment area. When working at a computer, you need to consider where your monitor is positioned, how far away from the keyboard you are, and the brightness of your screen. In contrast, as a spray tanning technician, you need to position yourself comfortably, with your tools in easy reach. If you are planning on being a mobile spray tanning technician, you need to think about how you can safely move yourself and your equipment around without causing yourself any strains or injuries.

Some tips to consider when setting up your workspace:

  1. Move and stretch often. Movement is essential to keep our muscles from stiffening, so look at alternating tasks to break repetition and make time to do your stretches!
  2. Wear comfortable, supportive and sensible footwear at all times.
  3. Consider the weight and bulkiness of your kit. If your kit is too heavy, this may cause you problems down the track.
  4. Hard flooring is a killer for when you are on your feet all day, especially polished cement. Try and use floor mats where possible to give you some added support.
  5. Make sure you have adequate ventilation to look after your clients and your own health. Inhaling chemicals all day is not good for you long term.

You also need to make sure that your client areas are ergonomically set up. If the treatment area is too small, it may cause you or the client to need to get into weird body positions to get an even application. Be sure to think about the amount of space you will need to complete a service safely.

If you would like to learn more about ergonomics, access the resources linked:

If you don’t look after your own health, your career will end before you know it. If, for any reason, you start to feel sore in any areas or if your eyes feel tired, you need to think about how your work area is set up. Of course, when we start out as spray tanning technicians, we may not be able to do more than a couple of clients a day.

As your skills develop and your body gets used to the various positions, you will develop muscle strength and will be able to increase your contact time. If you feel tired and sore in the beginning, do not push through, it is not worth it! Make sure you take breaks, have a restful sleep and seek medical attention for any pain that does not subside.

Equipment use

In addition to ergonomics, you also need to ensure that you are safely using your equipment. Many people who work with air compressors do not realise that they can be hazardous.

While it is rare that you will have any issues with your spray tanning equipment, when you work with anything that has pressurised air, there are risks. Of course, the equipment you use has low PSI, but to prevent any safety issues, ensure that you:

  • Conduct regular cleaning and maintenance per manufacturers instructions
  • Never tamper with any valves
  • Do not tamper with electrical components

You also want to make sure that when you are using anything with a power source, that there is no contact with fluids. Electricity and water can be a dangerous combination, so if there are accidental spills of any kind, let’s say a bottle of water is spilled onto your extractor fan, then you should not use the equipment until it has sufficient time to dry. Accidents like this are rare, so use your common sense to manage any unforeseen issues with equipment.

Did you know… Compressed air is made of the same air you breathe in and out, but that air is compressed into a smaller size and kept under pressure.

Protective equipment

In addition to using disposables, personal protective equipment (PPE) may also be required in your role. When doing spray tans, there is a chance that the solution could blow back into your eyes, so goggles or other protective eyewear can be worn, and some technicians also use nose filters or masks to prevent inhalation issues.

In recent times, there have also been additional PPE requirements in response to contagious viruses, and these changes will likely become the norm in years to come. PPE that you will likely need to have on hand will include, but will not be limited to:

  • Disposable face mask and or respirator mask
  • Disposable technician gown
  • Face shields
  • Hair covers
  • Gloves to reduce skin on skin contact

When there is no legal requirement for PPE, you should still select any PPE that you feel will protect you while at work. For example, having comfortable and supportive footwear will be essential in your role as you will be on your feet for most of the day. As a technician, we will come into contact with a large number of different products on a daily basis. In summary, to protect yourself and your client, best practices include:

  • Wearing a filtered face mask
  • Make sure you have good lighting, also wearing magnifying glasses can help protect your eyes
  • Ventilation is critical
  • Your posture is paramount to your career as a spray tanning technician

There are lots of suppliers that stock PPE for spray tanning technicians, and you will likely find that PPE used for hairdressers, beauty salons and other cosmetic industries will be suitable for your use as well.


Maintaining your personal safety also means that you need to develop effective self-care practices. Self-care can mean different things to different people because the way we relax and recharge will be very different. You will have seen in the linked articles earlier that Safe Work Australia outlines requirements for mental health and wellbeing as well. Our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health is paramount for our success in our careers and also in our personal lives.

When you start out as a spray tanning technician, it is a super exciting time, and you will want to practice and refine your techniques at every opportunity. It is important to remember that a healthy balance between work and life must always be a focus for you.

Key phrase | Work-life balance: the equilibrium between your professional life and your personal life, with a good work-life meaning you have congruence between the different aspects of your life.

Working 80 hour weeks is not sustainable for anyone, and as a spray tanning technician, it is not physically possible unless you are willing to compromise your health.

If you are planning to work for yourself, you will have the client service side to contend with and also the additional duties of running a small business. If you do not plan your time accordingly and plan for time off, it can become overwhelming and harmful quite quickly! Having effective self-care strategies in place to ensure you are balancing your responsibilities, making time to connect with others and allowing yourself to rest and have some fun will make you more successful in the long run.

When we are really passionate about something, we can often get tunnel vision and get so focused on achieving what we need to. This can be a great motivator, but it can also lead to increases in stress, health issues and can impact other areas of our life. Self-care is not all about bubble baths, scented candles, Netflix and a block of chocolate! Let’s take a look at some self-care strategies for each area of health:

Self-care areaOverviewExample strategies
PhysicalPhysical self-care relates to how we look after our bodies. If your diet consists of red bull and cigarettes to get you through the day, you will suffer the consequences. Maintaining a healthy diet and undertaking frequent exercise can help to keep our bodies strong. Additionally, keeping hydrated throughout the day and getting enough sleep at night will help us stay on top of our health. Make time each day to go for a walkPlan your mealsTake your lunch break!Establish a regular sleep patternTalk to medical professionals if you feel fatigued
SocialHumans are social creatures, and while you may not want to talk to anybody after a long day at work, making time to see friends, family, and other connections is so important for our health and wellbeing. All small business owners do have to make sacrifices from time to time, and frequent nightclubbing on a Friday night may not be an option for you if you have clients booked on your Saturday’s! However, you should be careful not to let your work take up all your time – save some for your mates as well.Schedule time to spend with your friendsTake up a hobby that involves othersJoin online Spray tanning technician communitiesTake a weekend off every month and plan your annual leaveMake time for activities you really enjoy doing
MentalMental health can be tricky because we can’t always see when something is wrong. When you have a physical injury, it is clear to you and everyone else that the injury is there. Mental health issues can also develop slowly over time, and you yourself may not even be aware there is a problem the problems becomes serious.Take time out away from electronics, people and other stimuliReduce stressors where possibleSeek help if you are struggling
SpiritualWhether you are religious, a spiritualist, an atheist or other denomination, looking after your spiritual wellbeing is an important part of self-care, which is often overlooked. All of us have a set of morals, values and beliefs, and we are constantly learning and evolving with each new experience. It is important as we go through life that we have the opportunity to reflect, see how far we have come and have a greater understanding of the world around us.Engage with spiritual/religious practices that you find fulfillingMake time to reflect on your lived experiencesShare and discuss your experiences with othersLearn about other people and their values, beliefs and experiences
EmotionalLike mental health, emotional health can sometimes go undetected, and a build-up of emotions can result in extreme reactions. I think it has happened to all of us at some point when you may have found yourself getting really angry or upset over something minor. Usually, it is not the minor problem that is the issue; it is a build-up of emotions that have not been recognised or released in a healthy way.Learn how to identify and be comfortable with your emotionsTalk to others to help you process your emotionsExpress your feelings, don’t suppress them!

These strategies are just examples. You will have your own unique ways of relaxing, grounding yourself and looking after your health and wellbeing. If you want to watch some trashy TV to relax, or drink a green smoothie or read a good book, it is completely up to you! Balance and variety will be important for you to stick with whichever self-care strategies you choose.

It can be extremely easy to neglect our own health when we are busy, but you should never be so busy that your health suffers. If you continue to ignore your health and the warnings in favour of getting work completed, you will likely have more time out of work in the end because the more serious the health issue is, the more extreme and lengthier the treatment options will likely be. Early intervention and treatment are key!

If you would look like to learn more about self-care and other strategies you might find useful, access the resources linked:

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