A perfect rating for Hello Sailor
Blackpool Council is to introduce a new hygiene rating system for tattoo parlours, piercing businesses and permanent make-up artists – one of the first of its kind in the country.
Working in a similar way to the national Food Hygiene ratings systems, the Blackpool Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme will allow consumers to check the rating of premises online at www.blackpool.gov.uk/tattoo on their computer, tablet or smartphone.
It is hoped the scheme will ensure consumers’ peace of mind when they decide to get a tattoo, piercing or have a permanent cosmetic make-up treatment and ensure businesses are working to the highest possible standards.
Any premises which do not work to a good cleanliness standard will receive a low rating which will inform consumer choice.
They could also face prosecution if breaches of health and safety legislation are found.
The scheme is voluntary and any premises that refuse to take part in the scheme will also be listed.
Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Tattooing is a growing trend that needs close attention.
“We have a duty to protect people, particularly young people and, as such, we want to make sure all tattooing and piercing premises are clean and fully compliant with the law.
“It’s simple, all people have to do is go to www.blackpool.gov.uk/tattoo to check a hygiene rating. Frankly, you’d be a fool not to.
“Creating this system will ensure regular inspection and create a public-facing record of the results to allow people to make an informed and sensible choice.”
The first two premises to be inspected were Hello Sailor on Church Street and Revival Tattoos on Whitegate Drive.
Both were rated 5 star after scoring a perfect 100%.
Sean Powell, from Hello Sailor, welcomed the introduction of the scheme.
He said: “We think it’s a great thing for Blackpool and it’s long overdue.
“Because it mirrors the food hygiene rating system it’s recognisable to people and everyone will understand how it works.
And Mark Stephenson, from Revival, said: “This has been needed in Blackpool for some time.
“We think this will help to stop inexperienced people opening up tattoo studios in Blackpool and putting the public health of the people of Blackpool at risk.”
The move to regulate tattooing and piercing follows a number of concerning court cases involving the industry.
Last year, a Blackpool body piercer sparked a public health scare after he was discovered to have been operating his premises without electricity.
Public Health England experts were forced to contact customers to arrange precautionary testing to ensure they had not contracted or been put at risk of blood borne diseases.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Another man was also convicted of tattooing a minor in his home, receiving a substantial fine.
The accountable, online system also follows the huge success Blackpool Council has had in regulating the sunbed industry through a similar scheme.
A council investigation into sunbed safety last year looked at levels of harmful UV light being emitted by the bulbs within Blackpool salons. Shockingly more than 70 per cent of salons failed tests.
As a result, Blackpool Council implemented a new regulatory system which created a new online directory of all the town’s sunbed shops.
Those shops which fail to comply with the law are named and shamed at www.blackpool.gov.uk/sunbeds while the sunbed shops that are following the law are listed as compliant.
The system has resulted in a complete turnaround in standards with more than 70 per cent of businesses now fully compliant and operating well.
The scheme has received nationwide acclaim and was highlighted by the BBC’s Inside Out programme as an example of good practice.
It is hoped the tattoo regulation scheme will have a similar positive effect in driving up standards.