The Infection prevention and control guidelines for hair, beauty, tattooing and skin penetration industries (2019) helps those involved in these industries to comply with requirements in the: Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (the Act) and the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019. The Act and regulations documents can be found at the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Document website.

These guidelines assists workers involved in the personal care and body art industry to comply with legislation, by providing information on how infection can be potentially associated with the procedures employed in the industry and what precautions need to be taken to protect clients and employees.

The guidelines also provide information on general matters that may be useful to the industry in performing its practices, and on infection control in general. The personal care and body art industry covers activities under five general headings: Beauty therapy procedures (including waxing, facials and nail treatments), Physical therapies (including massage and spas), Hairdressing, Body art (including tattooing and body piercing), and Colonic irrigation.

Howbeit, these guidelines are not meant to replace industry specific guidelines for personal care and body art premises. Proprietors and operators are advised to also consult their professional organisations and other organisations relevant to aspects of their business. These guidelines should be used as a guide to best practice and as a reference tool for people associated with the industry, including environmental health officers.

The proprietor or operator in a beauty shop is expected to balance the benefits of using these guidelines against the costs, and against the consequences of not having specific infection control and prevention procedures. Note that the use of single-use, cartridge-type ear and nose piercing guns, for example, is insignificant compared with the reduced risk of transmitting blood-borne infections.

Businesses are expected to have adequate supply of equipment to enable them to comply with the cleaning, disinfection and sterilization sections of the guidelines. Businesses have a legal mandate to provide safe service, and a risk management program enables them to take all reasonable precautions. The identification of potential hazards and their management reduces the likelihood of untoward incidents. In addition, the provision of a consistent quality service enhances both business reputation and client loyalty.

What are the Basic Health and Hygiene Regulations in the Beauty Industry in Victoria?

Personal care and body art businesses are always expected to apply professional, competent, safe and hygienic practices. Unsafe or unhygienic practices can lead to the spread of infectious diseases that can affect the health of the client as well as jeopardize the health of the operator.

Illnesses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS can spread by blood-to-blood contact, so it is very important for staff to understand the precautions required for any procedure that may involve skin penetration and possible blood contamination. Below are the basic requirements for businesses in the beauty industry in Victoria;

  1. Premises

Before starting a personal care and body art business in Victoria, the proprietor/operator has to consider a number of compliance issues. The following information provides a best practice guide. The person who is conducting the personal care and body art business – including hairdressing, beauty parlour work, tattooing, ear piercing or any other process involving the penetration of the skin – must register such premises with the local government under the Health Act1958. Current legislation does not require the registration of solaria, colonic irrigation or massage businesses.

A new registerable business in existing premises must:

  • ensure the premises has current registration
  • Apply to transfer the registration of the premises to the new proprietor before that proprietor takes over its operation.

A new registerable business in new premises should, before applying for registration:

  • Consult with the local government health department to discuss the proposal, preferably before selecting a site
  • Submit detailed plans of the interior layout of the proposed premises to local government, in accordance with these guidelines
  • Obtain local government approval for the plans before commencing work on the premises
  • Contact the Business Licence Centre for information
  • Contact Small Business Victoria for business advice and information
  • Contact the appropriate industry association for advice.

Any new business must:

  • Submit an application for registration to the local government
  • Obtain local government approval before opening.

General Requirements

Equipment, furniture, fittings, floors and walls are expected to be purpose built or purchased specifically for the task to be performed. They should be durable, safe and suitable for cleaning and maintenance, and constructed of sealed, nonporous material.

There should be adequate lighting and ventilation throughout the premises. You are expected to pay attention to those areas that are frequently damp, such as above, behind and under wash basins. The premises should be planned to provide separate function-specific client and cleaning/sterilising areas.

The area of client procedure rooms/cubicles should be no less than 2.5 metres square. The cleaning area is expected to be designed to ensure movement of instruments/equipment in a one-way direction from dirty to clean to sterile areas. It should also have sufficient bench space for good working practices.

  • Hand Basins

A hand basin with hot and cold running water supplied through a single outlet, liquid soap and paper towels is expected to be installed in the procedure room/cubicle. An appropriate splash back should be provided behind plumbing fixtures. Coupled with the hand basin in the procedure room/cubicle, there should be a hand basin in the cleaning area.

Where skin penetration procedures are performed, the hand basin should be hands free (for example, foot operated, electronically controlled or knee operated). Elbow operated taps are not desirable. In businesses where hairdressing only takes place, a hair washing basin with hot and cold running water supplied through a single outlet can also be used for washing hands.

 Equipment Sinks (Hairdressing)

Separate sinks with hot and cold running water supplied through a single outlet (hot water not less than 70°C) should be located in the cleaning area for instrument and equipment washing.

  1. General Plumbing

Plumbing must conform with the requirements of the Plumbing Industry Commission (Victoria) and Standards Australia. These include:

  • Australian Standard/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 3500.1:2003 Plumbing and drainage –Water services
  • AS/NZS3500.2:2003 Plumbing and drainage – Sanitary plumbing and drainage
  • AS/NZS3500.4:2003 Plumbing and drainage – Heated water services.
  • Hot water installations should have sufficient capacity for the business being undertaken.
  • Premises may include other plumbing fixtures beside the hand basin, such as that used for general cleaning.
  1. Electrical Safety

All electrical equipment must meet prescribed electrical standards.

  1. Linen

Paper towel, paper strips or clean linen are recommended and must be changed between clients. Soiled linen, towels and protective clothing should be placed in a washable, leak-proof receptacle, and laundered using hot water (70–80ºC) and detergent. All clean linen, towels and clothing must be stored in a clean environment to reduce contamination.

  1. Disposal of Waste

All bins used for waste must be lined with a plastic bag that can be sealed for disposal. It is essential that clinical and related waste (formerly known as infectious waste) is properly packaged, labelled, handled and transported to minimise the risk of occupational exposures and the transmission of infectious diseases to both waste handlers and the community. The Environmental Protection Authority has requirements for the management of clinical and related waste.

  1. Dispensing

To avoid contamination, the operator must ensure any make-up, fluid, cream, ointment or similar substance is removed from its original container/tube (including self-dispensing pumps) using a clean disposable applicator. Leftover creams, ointments and similar substances must not be returned to the original container and must not be used on any other client. Applicators used for dispensing must not be re-dipped into the original container and must be discarded after each client. Single use applicators are recommended

  1. Animals

Animals, other than guide dogs for the hearing- or sight-impaired client, should not be permitted in procedure areas. Having animals in premises should be discouraged.

  1. Records

For all premises covered by these guidelines, it is important to keep accurate records of every procedure carried out on each client. All businesses should also record every incident relevant to occupational health regulations. Accurate and detailed records are valuable if there is any infection or possibility of a blood-borne virus transmission.

In the case of a blood-borne virus, for example, these records can be cross-checked for the probability for or against a reported infection resulting from a specific procedure or incident. Operators should also ensure that they comply with the relevant legislation regarding the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal and/or health information.

  1. Health and Safety in the Workplace

Employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment to minimize risk to the health of employees, clients and other persons entering the premises. This effort involves providing:

  • Adequate staff training, including training in hygiene and infection control
  • Properly maintained facilities and equipment, including personal protective equipment
  • A suitably designed and clean workplace to minimize potential hazards, such as the safe storage of equipment and chemicals, sharps and other clinical and related waste.

Conclusion

Compliance with guidelines and regulations is therefore in the best interest of personal care and body art industries because every client and operator is at risk if proper infection control procedures are not followed. Proprietors and operators should be familiar with the Australian and New Zealand standards as they relate to their premises and practices. The Department of Human Services recommends compliance with the standards cited throughout the guidelines as established best practice.

Ajaero Tony Martins