Tattoo And Piercing Union LogoNew Tattooing And Body Piercing Guidance Launched To Raise Standards

     11 Aug 13

A new landmark Tattooing and Body Piercing Guidance has been launched today to provide practical information to support both local authorities and businesses in England to adopt safe standards of practice in this area.

Currently there are no national standards and there is a need to promote safety and consistency across the range of tattooing and body piercing practices, as health risks can arise from improper practice, particularly poor infection control practice. Such health risks include infections, such as the risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses like hepatitis B, C and HIV.

As tattooing and body piercing has become more popular and fashionable, the range of tattooing and body piercing procedures has also increased. While there are a variety of legal measures requiring registration of premises and model bylaws specifying general standards, there are no requirements for qualifications and training of practitioners carrying out the tattooing and body piercing procedures and it is hoped these guidelines will also serve to initiate action to address these gaps.

Commenting on the publication, Ian Gray, Principal Policy Officer for CIEH, said:

“The use of this guidance will help to ensure the health and safety of both clients and operators and that tattooing and skin piercing practitioners will be operating in compliance with legal requirements.

“By making this toolkit available to both businesses and the local authority officers responsible for the regulation of their activities, we are creating a level playing field. We intend this to promote agreement on requirements and consistency in their application which will encourage compliance and provide reassurance for the clients who wish to undergo these procedures.”

The guidance was developed by experienced individuals working with the tattoo and body piercing industry as expert advisors, practitioners or regulators, and has been endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Public Health England (PHE), Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union (TPIU).

Dr Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director for PHE, said:

“This guidance toolkit ensures practitioners follow safe and hygienic working practices to protect the health of both clients and themselves.

“Public Health England worked closely with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and provided evidence on decontamination and infection control to help develop the recommendations.  This guidance aims to promote evidence based infection prevention and control practice to improve and monitor standards in tattooing and body piercing. The importance of this guidance for the industry has been recognised by many health professionals and practitioners alike, and I am delighted to support and endorse this toolkit.”

Alan Beswick, Principal Scientist for HSL, said: “A substantial amount of care and effort has gone in to producing this new guidance toolkit. Its underlying strength lies in the evidence based content, supported by expert consensus where published evidence may be lacking. The range of contributors to the toolkit is intended to ensure that the information is easily accessible to those who need it, in particular the practitioners of tattooing and body piercing.”

For some time, concerns have been raised by tattoo and body piercers on the lack of robust and consistent guidance on good standards of hygiene and safety. This has led to inconsistent advice and variations in standards of practice.

Marcus Henderson, President for TPIU, said: “The vast majority of the professional tattoo and body piercing community recognises the importance of promoting and adopting good practice to safeguard both practitioners and public alike. We hope that this document will provide easily accessible guidance to assist those in the industry to understand the need to examine their current practice and, where needed, make changes to improve operational standards.”

The guidance has been written for use nationally by tattoo and body piercing practitioners who work in regulated premises, local authority officers in their regulatory role and health protection staff who are asked to provide expert advice.

This guidance is open for review over the next six months (to 8 February, 2014). Health and industry professionals are encouraged to contact Ian Gray, CIEH Principal Policy Officer on [email protected] to share their views.