Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are among the most devastating health problems in the world, including Turkey. The route of transmission of HBV and HCV is mainly parenteral, a small number of epidemiological studies demonstrating that perinatal, sexual, household and occupational transmission occurs. Contact of a patient's blood or bodily fluids with non-intact skin is another mode of HBV and HCV transmission. Barbers in Turkey may often be exposed accidentally to the blood and bodily fluids of their customers. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV infection in barbers. We conducted a study to determine the prevalence of antibodies against HBV and HCV among 176 barbers and 180 control subjects in the Sivas region of Turkey. The prevalence of HBV and HCV was found to be higher in barbers (39.8 and 2.8%, respectively) than in a comparison group (28.3 and 1.1%, respectively). No significant relationship was found with the duration of occupation. Among the seropositive subjects, it was found that most had been exposed to needle pricks or scissor cuts. Our data suggest that both HBV and HCV infections may constitute occupational hazards for barbers. The sources of infection could be not only such personal risk factors as 'sharps' injuries and scissor cuts, but may also include other unknown factors.