Skin penetration premises (i.e. tattoo studios, body piercing studios, beauty salons) in the city are inspected by Environmental Health Officers under the Public and Environmental Health Act 1987 to check for compliance with the Guidelines on the Safe and Hygienic Practice of Skin Penetration. These guidelines have been prepared to assist relevant authorities and operators of premises where the practice of skin penetration procedures such as acupuncture, tattooing, micropigmentation, body piercing, waxing, electrolysis or other hair removal/beauty therapies are undertaken, by providing information on how infection can occur and how the risk to clients, employees and the community can be minimised.
An overall assessment of the condition of skin penetration premises is assessed to ensure they are being maintained in a good condition and to ensure that surfaces in the work areas are constructed of materials that are non-absorbent and can be easily and effectively cleaned. Procedures for cleaning, disinfection, sterilisation of equipment/jewellery, hand washing and personal hygiene of staff are also assessed. Businesses are also required to produce clientele records, autoclave service reports and sterilisation records of equipment and jewellery.
Modern medical knowledge has made us aware of the potential dangers associated with skin penetration procedures. If precautions are not taken, blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and a range of bacterial infections can be transmitted to clients or operators by contaminated equipment or unhygienic premises and procedures. As a result of this, it is essential that businesses offering skin penetration procedures are fully aware of the potential dangers of their procedures and understand the precautions that need to be taken to minimise the likelihood of infection or spread of disease.
Health PiercingIn any procedure that involves penetration of the skin, contamination of equipment with blood (or body fluids) cannot be avoided. It is possible that clients and operators may include people who are carriers of viral infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV. Contaminated skin penetrating equipment can transmit these blood borne viruses to clients or to operators who may accidentally pierce themselves. Unhygienic practices and procedures may also transmit other skin and mucous membrane infections including herpes simplex virus and fungal infections such as ringworm and tinea which are spread by direct skin contact or from contaminated surfaces. Common bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas can also cause serious infection and may prevent healing of the site. These bacteria may be transmitted by unhygienic practices.
The risk minimisation strategies that should be used in the skin penetration industry require the operator to:
* Wash hands immediately before and after attending clients and before resuming a procedure if interrupted (i.e. answering the telephone)
* Wear clean disposable gloves when contact with blood or body fluid is anticipated
* Wear protective eyewear and clothing whenever there is a risk of splattering from blood or body fluids
* Use aseptic (non-touch) operating techniques
* Use fittings and equipment that have been properly cleaned and where necessary sterilised before use
* Maintain the premises in a clean condition
* Handle and dispose of sharps in a safe manner
* Consider being vaccinated against hepatitis B
Guidelines on the Safe and Hygienic Practice of Skin Penetration