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Piercing & Tattoos

The purpose the Guidelines on the Safe and Hygienic Practice of Skin Penetration is to assist relevant authorities and operators of premises where the practice of skin penetration procedures such as:

* acupuncture
* tattooing
* micropigmentation
* body piercing
* waxing
* electrolysis
* other hair removal/beauty therapies undertaken.

It is essential that proprietors and staff be 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.

Clients are not required to tell the practitioner if they are infected with a blood-borne virus. Operators must assume that all blood and other body substances are potential sources of infection.


The Guidelines on the Safe and Hygienic Practice of Skin Penetration addresses the following areas:

* inspections and Authorised Officers
* risk minimisation
* personal hygiene
* gloves
* aseptic procedures
* cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of equipment
* skin penetration
* environment
* needlestick injuries
* specific requirements
* risk assessment

Authorised officers are not expected to assess the operator's technique. However, they can ensure that certain levels of hygiene exist.

Public Health Act

Under the Public Health Act, Authorised Officers have the power to:

* serve notices to the owner or other responsible person
* enter and inspect the premises at reasonable times
* make inquiries
* ask questions
* examine, inspect and test equipment
* take samples
* take photographs and videos
* require records to be produced
* examine and copy the records.

Inspections will generally be performed on a routine basis and additional inspections will occur if complaints are received or investigations are required. Random inspections may also be undertaken.

For further information please see SA Health - Skin penetration guidelines

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