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First tattoo parlour rated by hygiene scheme

Brian Cowan12/02/2014 - 12.00

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INKinc. the Tattoo Lounge
INKinc. the Tattoo Lounge

A tattoo parlour in Gwent, south Wales, has become the first in the UK to receive a rating from the Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme.

INKinc the Tattoo Lounge, in Blaenavon, Pontypool, run by tattooist Aron Walton, received the top rating from the local authority, Torfaen Council, on 7 February.

Similar to the food hygiene rating scheme, following a local authority inspection each tattoo parlour is awarded a rating from one star, which means needing improvement, to four stars, which means very good.

The new rating system is based on good practice. The council can remove the award should conditions in the premises fall below that necessary to maintain the rating.

Successful premises will receive a Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme certificate and a window sticker to display for members of the public to see and their details are available on the participating council’s website.

‘The aim of the Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme is to drive up standards in the tattoo industry,’ said Julie Barratt, CIEH director for Wales. ‘We are obviously delighted that the trade has recognised that and has embraced the scheme.’

‘We know that Aron and the staff at INKinc, the Tattoo Lounge, worked hard with the staff at Torfaen Council to make sure that they achieved the top rating of four and they can be justifiably proud of what they have achieved. They have set the benchmark. I hope that many more tattooists will follow their lead. It will be good for the industry and good for public health.’

The Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme which was initially piloted in Wales and is now being taken up by local authorities around the country is designed to drive up standards in tattoo studios. It follows research showing that 93 per cent of customers considering having a tattoo would be influenced by a rating scheme and 80 per cent of tattoo studio operators interviewed considered it would be good for businesses. Tattooists surveyed felt hygiene ratings would give recognition to well run parlours while driving out unregistered and unsafe practitioners who often operate from home, known in the trade as ‘scratchers’.

Trade bodies such as the British Tattoo Artists Federation and the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union had expressed support for introducing a rating scheme.

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