Call to reintroduce licensing scheme for tattooists and cosmetic piercers


19 October 2016


Shared Regulatory Services (SRS) recently hosted an evening business forum for registered tattooists, semi-permanent makeup artists and body piercers working in the Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Discussion at Busniess ForumThe event – sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health – provided free training on how to manage hygiene standards and how to prevent infections, whilst also outlining the kind of enforcement work SRS does to combat illegal tattooists, or ‘scratchers’. 

Officers from Trading Standards and Environmental Health, nurses and consultants from Public Health Wales, and Welsh Government debated with practitioners the tattoo hygiene rating scheme, and the benefits of the special procedures licensing scheme previously proposed in the Public Health Bill. 

There was unanimous support to reintroduce the bill; it was agreed that the proposed licensing scheme was the only enforcement approach that could provide a level playing field for registered practitioners, and provide appropriate deterrents for illegal artists.

On the night, practitioners also benefitted from advice given by Trading Standards on how to manage underage clients who attempt to conceal their age. Public Health Wales also provided a useful insight into past incident investigations, and gave advice on Hepatitis B vaccinations.

Julie Barratt, Director of Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), said: ‘‘As tattoos and piercings become more popular, the need to make sure that they are safely and hygienically provided becomes ever more important. The CIEH was happy to support this Forum event.”

Councillor Gwyn John, Chairman of the joint committee for Shared Regulatory Services, said: “This Forum is the first stage of a proactive enforcement approach by SRS to ensure consistent infection control standards are maintained throughout our 3 local authorities. Protecting public health is our top priority.”

One attendee on the night, Lee Clements (of Chimera Tattoo, and representing the British Tattoo Artists Federation) agreed with these comments: “I am concerned that the process environmental health officers in SRS have to go through to get a conviction when investigating illegal tattooists is very difficult and time-consuming. It is the main reason why we, at the British Tattoo Artists Federation, are behind the new special procedures bill, especially the stricter licensing that will give EHOs the tools they need to combat the scratcher problem.”

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