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Male tattoo artist tattooing female client


Instructions for Tattoo Artists

All tattoo shops and piercers must be licensed by the City of Brantford and inspected by the Brant County Health Unit. If a tattoo studio is in a private home, it must be separate from the family personal space. A sink must be dedicated for cleaning of tools and not shared with family.

Before starting the tattoo:

  • Get the tattoo area ready by cleaning it and covering with a plastic wrap. Gather all supplies.
  • Clean ink caps as they are not necessarily clean when you buy them.
  • Cover any work surfaces or tools that cannot be disinfected (tattoo machine, spray bottles, cords) with disposable coverings (e.g. single use plastic wrap).
  • Any creams, lotions and ointments that will be needed have to be dispensed onto a disposable plate and what is not used must be thrown in the garbage.
  • Use disposable cups for the liquid used for rinsing between colours. Make sure you have enough tissues on hand for the entire tattoo session.

Wash your hands or use alcohol hand rub with 70% alcohol:

  • Before putting gloves on and starting a tattoo.
  • After taking the gloves off.
  • When you take a break, put new gloves on.

Do not store any personal items in the tattoo area.

During the tattoo session:

  • Check the skin where the tattoo will be done. If it is red, has a rash or the skin is broken for any reason, do not tattoo. The client must be told that it is not safe to tattoo broken skin and to come back when it is healed.
  • Only Use single-use, disposable, sterile needles.
  • Open sterile, packaged equipment only when ready to begin procedure. If the sterile packaging has been opened or damaged in any way, it should not be used.
  • Use disposable razors for shaving tattoo area of each client. Do not re-use this razor.
  • Use small single-use ink caps that are thrown away after each client.

After the tattoo session:

  • Cover tattoo with a clean and non-stick dressing that is for covering wounds.
  • Used needles/sharps must be put into a proper sharps container and disposed of safely (city hazardous waste days). Do not handle used needles.
  • Needle bars, ink caps, any left-over ink, petroleum jelly or anything else left over must be put in the garbage.
  • Clean and disinfect the table and area after each client.
  • Remove gloves and put in the garbage. Gloves can only be used one time for one client.
  • Wash hands with soap and water.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • All re-useable equipment is cleaned then disinfected.
  • For tattoo or micro pigmentation pen/instrument, the needle holder device, outer casing and inner needle chamber must be single-use disposable or cleaned and then sterilized before re-use.
  • Ink cap holders are to be high-level disinfected.
  • Surfaces covered by plastic must be cleaned and low-level disinfected after each client.
  • Any surfaces accidentally contaminated with blood and/or body fluids must be cleaned and high-level disinfected.
  • Store multi-use tools in a clean, covered container when not in use and should be clearly labelled as clean.

High Level Disinfection

  • Disinfection can only be done after cleaning with soap and water first and rinsing the soap off.
  • If the instruments can’t be washed right away, soak them in soapy water until you are ready to clean them.
  • High level disinfection can be done with a bleach and water solution. Make sure that the starting bleach product has 5%chlorine. There are other chemicals that can be used, call Brant County Health Unit (519)753-4937 ext. 454
    • Mix one teaspoon (5 mils) of bleach with one cup (250 mils) water.
    • Soak the instruments in this solution for 20 minutes
    • Remove instruments and let them air dry.
    • Store instruments in a closed container until needed.

Needles cannot be disinfected this way. Needles can only be sterilized in an autoclave or bought pre-sterilized.

Blood and Body Fluid Exposures

  • Provide client with verbal and written after-care instructions.
  • If the client or staff gets stuck with a needle go to the hospital and tell the nurse that you have a needle stick injury.
  • Tell your clients to see a doctor if the tattoo is hot to the touch or red and sore.
  • Keep client records and accidental blood and body fluid exposure records on site for one year and off site for 5 years.
  • Tattoo artists and staff should be vaccinated for Hepatitis B.

If you have any questions, call our personal services settings inspectors at 519-753-4937 ext. 454.

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Learn how our Wellness Works resources can support your workplace:

  • Raise health awareness
  • Build healthy living skills
  • Support healthy physical working environments
  • Develop sustainable workplace health policies