NIOSH Launches Topic Page for Tattoo Artists

In a new Web page, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends strategies to reduce body artists' potential risks of work-related exposures to bloodborne pathogens in applying tattoos or piercings. NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. says the page "fulfills a need that practitioners have voiced to NIOSH--a need for a well-organized, one-stop, user-oriented resource for information on minimizing work-related exposures to blood in tattooing and piercing."

The page, "NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Body Art," can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/bbp/bodyart/ and presents recommendations and resources under four headings: vaccinating and educating, preventing needlestick injuries, reducing cross-contamination, and further topics related to body piercing and tattooing.. Measures recommended for preventing unintended contact with clients' blood include having and following a plan at the shop to minimize employees' exposures to blood; using a sharps disposal container for discarding used tattoo needles or other sharp instruments; changing or disposing of gloves as appropriate; and properly cleaning and sterilizing reusable tools, equipment, and work areas.

>p>Recommendations are based on regulations and other materials from OSHA pertaining to potential occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, guidelines by CDC, and findings and recommendations by NIOSH. The NIOSH findings include results of health hazard evaluations at body piercing establishments. Also available for downloading from the Web page are postcards that note simple ways to reduce exposures to bloodborne pathogens in the body art industry. NIOSH has sent copies of the cards to tattoo and body piercing shops across the country in conjunction with the new Web page.

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