Ear piercing

Public health law requires that persons undertaking ear piercing operate in a hygienic manner in order to prevent the spread of disease, particularly hepatitis and HIV infections.

Premises are generally controlled by means of local bye-laws made by individual councils together with health and safety at work legislation, the standards being enforced by Environmental Health Officers.

What are the risks associated with ear piercing?

The greatest risk associated with ear piercing is the contracting of Hepatitis B. This is a very resilient virus and spreads easily from person to person via contact with small amounts of infected blood, tissue fluids or serum. It is so resilient that the virus has been known to survive for eight years on inanimate surfaces in a laboratory.

What do Ear Piercers have to do?

Firstly you must register with us. Following this an Officer will normally visit to check that your premises and practices meet the required standards, you should not commence ear piercing until your application to register has been approved. The registration visit will usually be combined with an inspection under The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which covers additional areas of safety.

What if I don't comply?

Specific standards with regard to the premises, equipment and operatives are required by the Wigan MBC Byelaws (a copy of the Byelaws is available on request).

You also have an obligation under The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to look after the health and safety of customers. If the method in use was dangerous the equipment used could be seized and/or you may be served with a Prohibition Notice which prohibits the use of the equipment.

In the case of other unsatisfactory conditions you will either receive a letter outlining what action is required or you may be issued with an improvement Notice requesting compliance within a specified time. You will be given reasonable time to put things right but failure to comply could result in legal action being taken.

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