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Guidelines for Body Piercing

GUIDELINES FOR BODY PIERCING GOOD PRACTICE DEFINITION Body piercing is the practice of piercing parts of the human body into which jewellery is then inserted. INTRODUCTION These guidelines are aimed at minimising the main dangers associated with body piercing, Hepatitis B and C, HIV transmission, bacterial sepsis, organ or tissue dysfunction and subsequent scarring. THE LAW The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 This requires that persons carrying out ear piercing and the premi
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  GUIDELINES FOR BODY PIERCINGGOOD PRACTICE DEFINITION Body piercing is the practice of piercing parts of the human body into which jewellery is then inserted. INTRODUCTION These guidelines are aimed at minimising the main dangers associated withbody piercing, Hepatitis B and C, HIV transmission, bacterial sepsis, organ ortissue dysfunction and subsequent scarring. THE LAWThe Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 This requires that persons carrying out ear piercing and the premiseswhere this takes place must be registered with the local authority, and theperson and the premises must comply with any bye-laws in force underthat Act. If you do not pierce ears then no such registration is required. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 This act regulates the health and safety of persons at work, including theself employed, and persons affected by a work activity. The Health Protection Unit of the Environment and Health Serviceenforce the above two Acts in all skin piercing premises within theBorough.The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 This Act states that a person who ‘excises, infibulates or otherwisemutilates the whole or any part of the Labia majora, Labia minora orClitoris of another person’ is guilty of a criminal offence.Therefore piecing the female genitalia could be an offence and this mustbe considered before such piercing are performed.It is important to note that the Act does not allow females to consent to anyprocedure that could be defined as female circumcision. Age of Person Requesting Piercing There is no specific legislation covering this aspect. However any piercingof male or female genital organs, including breasts, carried out on a childunder the age of 16 years would be regarded as indecent assault becausechildren of that age   cannot give consent to such activities.Where piercing is not prohibited by the above legislation it is in any caserecommended that parental consent be obtained in writing in the case of  persons under the age of 18 years. Proof of age should be sought if thereis any uncertainty.It is also important to note the words of Judge Rant QC in the case ofOversby, “piercing parts of the anatomy other than the ears is lawful,provided that the piercing is carried out for decorative or cosmeticpurposes and not for sexual gratification.”Finally it is recommended that clients be encouraged to bring a friend formoral support to prevent misunderstandings or allegations of impropriety,especially in the case of genital piercing. THE PIERCER Body piercing must only be carried out by people who have received suitabletraining and supervision and are competent in both the technical and themanual skills necessary to perform a piercing that will not cause infection,unnecessary scarring or bodily dysfunction.There are currently no recognised qualifications. It may therefore benecessary for inspecting officers to ask questions that will reveal the piercerslevel of knowledge about the hazards of body piercing and how to avoid them.The piercer should be vaccinated against Hepatitis B virus and it isrecommended that piercers hold an HSE approved Basic First Aidqualification.When piercing the piercer should avoid open footwear and bare legs toreduce the risk of needlestick injury.Piercers must not be under the influence of drugs, alcohol or othersubstances. THE PREMISES Body piercing must be carried out in an area separated from other activitiesand in circumstances where privacy can be assured.The piercing area should be well illuminated, have suitable and sufficientheating and ventilation and be large enough to provide adequate space forthe piercing activities to be performed safely and efficiently.There should be a notice prominently displayed informing potential clients ofthe risks associated with body piercing;Blood poisoning (septicaemia)Localised severe swelling and trauma around the piercing site.Localised infection, e.g. sepsis or arthritis.Scarring.Jewellery embedding.Allergic reaction to jewellery materials and antiseptics.The client should be provided with a couch or similar item to enable them tobe pierced in a reclined position to minimise the consequences of fainting.  NB. This is not appropriate for tongue piercing due to the risk of inhaling orswallowing the jewellery.The couch must be covered with a clean disposable paper sheet for eachclient.All surfaces must be clean and capable of being readily cleansed anddisinfected.There must be suitable hand washing facilities with hot and cold running watertogether with soap and paper towels or other suitable means of hand drying.There must be suitable equipment washing facilities with hot and cold runningwater. Equipment cleaning is best carried out by the use of an Ultrasoniccleaner used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.Where equipment is cleaned in a sink only tepid water should be used andthe operator must wear latex gloves and suitable eye protection due to therisk of viral particle splashes.The ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ areas must be separate and the flow of operationsshould ensure that cross contamination does not occur.A suitable First Aid kit must be readily available.Copies of the guidance produced should be freely available in the waitingarea. PRE-PIERCING CONSENT The piercer must discuss the clients medical history and in particular askwhether they have suffered from any of the following;Heart DiseaseHaemorrhagic (bleeding) disorders including leukaemiaSeizures e.g. EpilepsyDiabetes, Aids, Psoriasis, CellulitisAllergic responses e.g. anaesthetics, adhesive plasters, jewellery metalsGenital warts - if relevant to the piecing requested and fainting.and if they are currently on any medication or under the influence of alcohol,drugs or other substances or are obviously unwell. Piercing should not beperformed on skin that is diseased or affected by a rash or moles.Where any of the above conditions exist, or there is a past history, writtenauthorisation from the clients GP should be required.A written record must be made of the clients personal details to include;Name, Address, Date of BirthDetails of previous piercingsRelevant medical information as specified above.Copy of GPs letter if appropriate.  The client should be required to complete a ‘Skin Piercing Consent Form’See Appendix 1.The above records should be kept on the premises for a period of at leastthree years. BODY PIERCING PROCEDURE AND EQUIPMENT It is essential that body piercers have a clear understanding of good practiceand that they put this into good effect.In order to achieve this and also to comply with the various requirementsunder the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulations madethereunder, it is necessary for a written method statement to be prepared.This method statement must identify the various stages in the piercingsundertaken and the methods used to ensure safety and efficient piercing.In particular the following points will need to be included with details of theprocedures to be adopted.There must be no smoking or eating in the piercing room.Once the client has been interviewed and their medical status established the jewellery can be chosen for the desired effect.All jewellery must be of a suitable grade e.g. surgical stainless steel, solid 14Kor 18K gold, niobium, titanium, platinum, or dense low porosity plastic.The client will wish to see the choice of jewellery on offer and probably willwant to handle it. It is therefore suggested that a full range of the jewellery beavailable for clients to examine separate from the jewellery that will be used inthe piercing because that must be clean and sterile.Many clients may wish to be anaesthetised at the site of the piercing.However the use of anaesthetic injections is restricted by the Medicines Act1968 to doctors, nurses and veterinary surgeons.The use of surface local anaesthetics is not recommended.a) Ethyl Chloride - This is very flammable, non-sterile, may cause anallergic reaction, is not always effective and can cause frostbite.b) Cream preparations - these are usually only available on prescriptionand can take 30-60 minutes to act. They may also cause side effects.Prior to piercing the operator must ‘surgical scrub’ with a suitable bactericidalsoap and hot water (nails, hands and up to elbows) dry with disposable paper
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