A list of rules known as Universal Precautions is part of the Bloodborne Pathogens Rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These apply in any health service setting in which exposure to bodily fluids and blood is a risk. This also applies to tattoo parlors!
Dr. Kris Sperry, a forensic pathologist and chief medical examiner for the state of Georgia, lead a group of physicians known as Tattoodocs, who taught infection control in the tattoo and piercing environment. They offered these guidelines to tattoo artists (you can help ensure your safety by making sure these guidelines are followed by your tattoo artist):
- During the procedure, check gloves regularly for small pinhole tears since ointment can actually erode latex.
- Refrain from touching eyes, mouth, ears or nose during application.
- Do no smoke with gloves on.
- Pour out ink in advance; when adding more palette, use a clean tissue to open the pigment bottle, being careful not to allow the nozzle to come into contact with contaminated trays.
- When rinsing tubes for color changes, rinse carefully and pat dry -- donít blow excess water from the tube.
- Spray liquid soap into a tissue and wipe away excess fluids from tattoo -- donít spray directly onto bleeding area because blood can become aerosolized.
- If a pen is used for freehand drawing on the skin, give it to the customer when completed (the pen should be medical grade and sterile).
- Bandage client with packaged, sterile, non-stick-variety bandage; use gauze to secure bandage and tape it to the site using hypoallergenic products.
- Remove gloves and wash hands.
- Give proper care instructions.