Five Tips for Table Safety
Just like the most important issues in real estate are “Location, Location and Location,” the most important elements of table safety when grooming are “Control, Control and Control.”
The unpredictability of working with any pet, large or small, is the groomer’s ability to maintain complete control over not only the portion of the pet that is actively being worked on, but the rest of the animal as well. You must be able to control the bite radius of the pet when you are working on rear nails. You must be able to prevent the pet from spinning off the table from the rear when de-matting its chest or trimming its front paws. You have to be able to control the head and shoulders completely when working with scissors around the face and eyes.
As you might imagine—or know from your own experience—being able to do all this with only two hands and still get the job done is a Herculean feat. This was the inspiration for the invention of what is now the No. 1 safety and positioning system in the grooming industry, The Groomers Helper.
Pet Business asked Chuck Simons, the creator of The Groomers Helper, to share his top five tips for grooming safely:
1. Be Aware of Top-Heavy Situations
Even with adjustable tables in their lowest position, larger dogs can cause dangerous top-heavy situations. Be aware of your table’s capabilities and balance. Your grooming arm should always be in the center of the table—the center of gravity—not on the side.
2. Secure Portable Tables
As convenient as portable tables may be for groomers on the move, all of them have collapsible legs that do not have secure locking capabilities. Be sure to add a clamp or strap to the leg joints to guarantee they will not fold down under a weight load or if bumped while working.
3. Avoid Too Wide, Too Long or Too Thick
The optimum width of a table is 24 inches and the optimum length is 36 to 42 inches. Much larger tabletops are available but can cause groomers to stretch and reach unnecessary distances, which can cause imbalance and significant back strain.
4. Don’t Underestimate Extra Large Dogs
Underestimating the power and strength of very large dogs is the single most dangerous thing you can do on a table. You can build a simple 18-in.-tall platform in your salon that either stays flat on the floor or folds up against the wall, with eyebolts in the wall to secure extra large dogs.
5. Buy a Stable Table
Double-cantilever tables are more stable than single-cantilever tables (like scissors tables). However, if you do own a scissors table, you need to have a protective shroud to prevent any injury to pets or the groomer, or loose equipment from the raising and lowering operation. Double-cantilever tables do not shake when the dogs get those nervous, shaky back legs.
Safety for the Groomer, Safety for the Pet
The Groomers Helper System stops the biters, stops the spinners and stops the head droppers. One person can do both front and back nail clips without having to get help from another salon employee. By properly positioning the pet for each task that needs to be done, and restraining its movement on the table without muzzling or tightly tethering, stylists can not only protect themselves and the pet from injury, but also be significantly more productive. With increased control and less constant repositioning, groomers can safely attend to more dogs every single day.
The fear of having an employee or pet injured during grooming is clearly the most frightening aspect of running a salon. By controlling the bite radius of the pet, you minimize the chance of a valuable employee being hurt or experiencing significant down time. By allowing the stylist to use both hands when working, instead of using one to constantly support and re-position, groomers and pets experience significantly less stress and strain on themselves both physically and mentally. The Groomers Helper system also provides quick-release safety features that can get the pet off the table while still maintaining complete control.
Designed by a groomer—for groomers—the Groomers Helper was developed by Chuck Simons for his wife Beth when she first began grooming professionally. It was never Chuck’s intention to create a system that would someday see almost a million dogs groomed with its benefits around the world every day. It was simply his creative way to help his wife deal with the daily frustrations and challenges of working as a stylist. Today, Simons has a wall covered with the top awards from the Industry for making the day-to-day life of grooming professionally safer and more productive. Hundreds of millions of safe grooms later, the Groomers Helper is on every table at the largest grooming operation in the world and in thousands of independent salons—because it works. PB