News Releases

Health and Safety issues in the Hair Styling Industry?

For Release Upon Receipt - April 17, 2012

St. Augustine

Apart from the possibility of a bad haircut or unflattering colour choice, it is hardly likely you have ever seen hair styling as risky business. But it could be.

On Thursday 19th April 2012, a public lecture organized by The University of the West Indies (UWI) Chemistry Department’s Occupational Environmental Safety and Health Programme (OESH) and open and free to members of the public will focus on health and safety awareness and the serious occupational health risks in the hairdressing industry which stem from physical load and ergonomic workplace design, chemical exposure, risk of skin disorders, psychological issues and work organization.  

‘Hair This! – A Public Lecture on Health and Safety Challenges for the Hair Styling Industry’ is carded to run from 6-8pm, at Lecture Theatre B, Sir Frank Stockdale Building, UWI St. Augustine and will feature visiting lecturer and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Science, University of Chicago Dr. Linda Forst.

Students of the UWI OESH MSc programme have conducted preliminary studies on health and safety knowledge, attitudes and practices of workers in the hair styling industry which suggests a significant lack of awareness and knowledge linked to negative attitudes and unsafe work practices. The public lecture ‘Hair This’ therefore seeks to identify some of the health and safety challenges affecting the hair styling industry, stimulate discussion and generate awareness on health and safety concerns in the industry and share knowledge on some of the preventative measures referencing research and legislation which has been undertaken in the United States. 

For more information on attending this lecture please contact:

  1. Miss Tamika Elcock at  or 662-2002 ext.83269  
  2. Miss Wendy Lawrence at or 662-2002 ext.83269/83268


About Dr. Linda Forst

Dr. Linda Forst is an external lecturer in the Occupational, Environmental, Safety and Health (OESH) graduate programme at the Department of Chemistry, UWI, St. Augustine. She is also the Director of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Science in the School of Public Health at the University of Chicago She has researched and published extensively in the areas of: Occupational Diseases, Injury Epidemiology, Occupational Health Disparities, Farm Worker Health and Safety and web-based teaching in Environmental Health. Over the past five years, she has been the principal investigator for major projects in Illinois; through grants and contracts from public and private sector entities. These projects include Occupational Surveillance Programmes, Worker’s Rights Centres Empowerment Hazard Awareness and Response, Trauma and Emergency Management Systems (EMS), Strategic Planning and Occupational Health Training Modules. Dr. Forst is a member of various committees on education, occupational medicine, patient care and service activities.  Dr. Forst holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Michigan State University, Master of Science in Genetics from the University of Arizona, Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a Doctor of Medicine (MD) qualified by the Michigan State University. 


About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences. (Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)