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OHLA Considers ABC Grading System for Cosmetology, Body Art Facilities
The Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) is considering using an "ABC" grading system for cosmetology and body art facilities, similar to what previously was used to grade restaurants by public health officials in Oregon.  OHLA inspectors would grade each facility after conducting an inspection, with an "A" grade indicating full compliance, a "B" grade indicating "noted deficiencies" but overall compliance, and a "C" grade indicating that the facility doesn't comply with regulatory requirements.
"We inspect thousands of facilities each year across the state, but consumers don't have a quick way to determine whether the salon or body art shop they are about to patronize is upholding state health and safety requirements," says OHLA Regulatory Operations Manager Bob Bothwell.  "With this system, they would."
Currently, cosmetology facilities and independent contractors and body art facilties are required to post their inspection sheets in public view.  However, the inspection sheet most often goes unnoticed by the public, without any large, clearly visible lettering or marking. 
"We think that the ABC system will be a great motivator for salons and body art facilities," Bothwell adds.  "The majority of them will want to attain an "A," because it shows their customers that they care about health and safety."
Board of Cosmetology members, a majority of whom are practitioners or salon owners, voiced approval of the ABC system, which would be implemented in the following way:
  • OHLA inspectors would take points off for each health and safety violation they find at each facility/independent contractor work station, tabulating a point total or percentage that would award an A, B, or C rating.  Consistency in the scoring system and how inspections are conducted will be key to the rating system.
  • Facilities or independent contractors who receive a "B" or "C" card would be required to wait 30 days before having a re-inspection, at which time they could upgrade to an "A" card if they have corrected the violations. 
  • Oregon cosmetology career schools that offer services to the public would also be subject to the grading system.

As the grading system concept is for more than one OHLA board, the agency plans to establish the concept in OHLA's overarching Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR).  Rulemaking is tentatively scheduled to begin on December 3, 2012, with the public comment period January 1 through February 1, 2013.