Guidelines for the Safe Piercing of Skin

Published online: 
02 October 1998


Body piercing and tattooing are activities that can affect public health when operators use unsafe techniques. There are significant hazards posed by contact with blood and body fluid, such as (the risk of) transmitting blood-borne viral diseases.

These guidelines update and expand on the 1989 Skin Piercing Guidelines prepared by the Medical and Scientific Sub-Committee of the National AIDS Council.

The purpose of this booklet is to help those in the skin piercing industry better understand how to protect themselves and their clients from the risk of infection. In addition, it aims to encourage operators to reduce harm from skin piercing and promote healthy skin piercing practices.

This booklet will explain:

  • how to minimise risk of transmitting blood borne and other infections by the use of standard precautions during skin piercing procedures
  • how to ensure appliances are clean and sterile before being used for skin piercing
  • how to minimise the risk of transmitting micro-organisms between the operator, the appliances used and other clients
  • how to further promote a safe work environment for workers performing skin piercing operations.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    02 October 1998
  • ISBN:
    0-478-22882-1 (Booklet), 0-478-22884-8 (Internet)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Published in October 1998 by the Ministry of Health Manatu Hauroa Wellington, New Zealand
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
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