Niagara County Sanitary Code Chapter XVIII
REGULATIONS OF TATTOOING AND BODY PIERCING ARTISTS, OPERATORS
The act of tattooing is an invasive procedure which punctures the skin and injects a
dye into the tissue just below the skin. Body piercing is similarly an invasive procedure. The skin
is the body's primary barrier to infectious agents and any procedure which compromises the
integrity of this barrier increases the possibility of infection. In this age, with some diseases
causing serious health problems, it is imperative to regulate the artist, and the facility and
equipment used in these procedures. Therefore, the purpose of this Code is to assure that the
conditions in the facility provide a safe and sanitary environment, and that the person applying a
tattoo or performing a body piercing has a basic knowledge and practice of aseptic techniques.
Tattooing and body piercing outside the provisions of the regulations in this code are strictly
Section 1 Definitions
For the purpose of this Code, the following words and phrases when used herein shall
be construed as follows:
(a) Tattoo The word "tattoo" shall mean to mark or color a person's skin by pricking in
coloring matter so as to form indelible marks or figures or by the production of scars.
(b) Body Piercing - The words "body piercing" shall mean cutting or passing through skin
and/or flesh with a sharp instrument, or penetrating a part of the body, except for the
ear, for the purpose of applying jewelry to various parts of the body by means of a
(c) Tattoo/Body Piercing Establishment The words "tattoo/body piercing establishment"
shall mean any room or space where tattooing and/or body piercing is practiced or
where the business of tattooing and/or body piercing is conducted or any part thereof.
(d) Tattoo/Body Piercing Operator The words "tattoo/body piercing operator" shall mean
any person who controls, owns, operates, conducts or manages any tattoo/body
piercing establishment, whether actually performing the work of tattooing and/or body
piercing or not.
(e) Tattoo/Body Piercing Artist The words "tattoo/body piercing artist" shall mean any
person who actually performs the work of tattooing and/or body piercing.
(f) Piercing Device - The words "piercing device" shall mean any device used for the
piercing of the skin for the purpose of applying jewelry.
(g) Permanent Makeup The words "permanent makeup" shall mean marking or coloring
the skin by pricking in coloring matter so as to form indelible marks. For the purpose of
this Code, whenever the word "tattoo" is used, it shall also apply to permanent makeup.
(h) Permanent Makeup Establishment The words "permanent makeup establishment"
shall mean any room or space where permanent makeup is applied or any part thereof.
For the purpose of this Code, whenever the words "tattoo/body piercing establishment"
are used, they shall also apply to permanent makeup establishments.
(i) Permanent Makeup Operator The words "permanent makeup operator" shall mean any
person who controls, operates, owns, conducts, or manages any establishment where
permanent makeup is applied, whether actually applying the permanent makeup or not.
For the purpose of this Code, whenever the words "tattoo/body piercing operator" are
used, they shall also apply to permanent makeup operator.
(j) Permanent Makeup Tattooist The words "permanent makeup tattooist" shall mean any
person who actually performs the work of applying permanent makeup. For the purpose
of this Code, whenever the words "tattoo/body piercing artist" are used, they shall also
apply to permanent makeup tattooist.
(k) Health Officer The words "Health Officer" shall mean the Public Health Director of
the Niagara County Department of Health or his/her duly authorized representative(s).
(l) Minor The word "minor" shall mean any person under the age of eighteen (18) years.
(m) Patron - The word "patron" shall mean any person who requests a tattoo and/or body
piercing at a tattoo/body piercing establishment.
(n) Equipment - The word "equipment" shall mean any and all machinery, including
fixtures, containers, vessels, tools, devices, implements, furniture, display and storage
areas, sinks, and all other apparatus and appurtenances used in connection with the
operation of a tattoo establishment.
(o) Work Area - The words "work area" shall mean any area or room used for the purpose
of performing tattooing and/or body piercing.
(p) Handwashing Facilities The words "handwashing facilities" shall mean a lavatory
equipped with hot and cold running water under pressure, used solely for washing
hands, arms or other portions of the body.
Section 2 Artist Certification
(a) No person except a duly licensed physician shall engage in the practice of tattooing
and/or body piercing or act as a tattoo/body piercing artist unless he/she has a
certificate issued by the Health Officer.
(b) No tattoo/body piercing operator shall allow a tattoo/body piercing artist to perform
tattooing/body piercing in his/her tattoo/body piercing establishment unless the
tattoo/body piercing artist is the holder of a valid certificate issued under this Code.
(c) Any person desiring to engage in tattooing/body piercing or act as a tattoo/body
piercing artist shall submit an application for certification to the Health Officer in the
form prescribed by the Health Officer which will include a statement that the applicant
has received a copy of this Code and has a working knowledge of its content.
(d) The certificate holder, prior to the issuance of said certificate, shall be required to show
evidence of knowledge of the provisions of this Code including an adequate knowledge
of bacteriology and aseptic technique to assure that infection and contagious disease
shall not be spread by tattooing and/or body piercing practices. A written test and/or
interview shall be administered by the Niagara County Department of Health to
determine satisfactory knowledge and technique for each artist seeking certification.
(e) The certification shall be renewed every two years and shall be valid countywide.
(f) A fee of $100.00 shall be assessed on the recipient of a certification.
Section 3 Tattoo/Body Piercing Establishment Permit
(a) No person shall operate a tattoo/body piercing establishment unless he/she has registered
such tattoo/body piercing establishment with the Health Officer and has received a permit
from the Health Officer.
(b) No permit shall be issued or renewed unless the tattoo/body piercing establishment has
been inspected and found to be in compliance with the provisions of this Code.
(c) The permit must be prominently posted in the public area of the facility.
(d) The permit shall be renewed every two years.
(e) A permit fee of $200.00 shall be assessed on the tattoo/body piercing operator.
Section 4 General Physical Environment
(a) The tattoo/body piercing establishment shall conform to applicable local, State and
(b) There shall be sufficient toilet and handwashing facilities accessible to patrons in the
tattoo/body piercing establishment.
(c) The tattoo/body piercing establishment and equipment shall be maintained in a state of
good repair at all times. All parts of the tattoo/body piercing establishment and its
premises shall be kept clean, neat and free of rubbish.
(d) The floor of the work area in the tattoo/body piercing establishment shall be of
impervious material and kept in a reasonably sanitary condition. The walls of the work
area shall be light colored. Floors, walls, or ceilings shall not be swept or cleaned while
tattooing/body piercing is in operation.
(e) There shall be provisions made by the tattoo/body piercing operator for the proper and
safe disposal of all types of hazardous biological waste products. Any material
contaminated with blood must be handled, stored, and disposed of in accordance with
Federal, State and Local Laws and acceptable to the Health Officer.
(f) Tattoo/body piercing establishments shall have work areas that are separate and apart
from the rest of the establishment. These areas shall not be used as corridors for access to
other areas. Patrons shall be tattooed/pierced in said work areas only. For a residence to
receive a permit to operate as a tattoo/body piercing establishment, work areas must be
dedicated for that use only. No other activities may take place in the work areas. Work
areas must comply with all other requirements of this Code.
(g) Each work area shall have handwashing facilities equipped with hot (at least 120 degrees
Fahrenheit) and cold running water. At least fifty (50) foot-candles of light must be
(h) Each handwashing facility is to be provided with hand cleaning soap, detergent or other
surfactant cleaning compound used for personal cleaning. Bar soap is prohibited.
Individual single service towels or warm air blowers are to be provided. Common towels
are prohibited. Conveniently located waste receptacles are to be provided.
(i) Handwashing facilities, hand washing devices and related equipment are to be kept clean
and in good repair. Employees must wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet,
sneezing, coughing, eating, drinking or otherwise soiling their hands before returning to
work. Handwashing signs are to be posted at all employee hand washing facilities.
(j) Adequate cabinets for the storage of instruments, dyes, pigments, carbon and stencils
shall be provided for each tattoo operator and shall be maintained in a sanitary manner.
Poisons, including germicidal solutions, used in the tattoo/body piercing establishment
shall be stored in covered containers with labels identifying the contents.
(k) An adequate number of worktables shall be provided for each tattoo/body piercing artist.
The surface of all work tables shall be constructed of a material that is smooth, light
colored, non-absorbent, corrosive-resistant, and easily cleaned and disinfected.
(l) Food and drink are prohibited in work areas.
(m) Animals are prohibited throughout the tattoo/body piercing establishment.
Section 5 Records
(a) Proper records shall be maintained by the tattoo/body piercing operator for each patron.
(b) A record of each patron shall be prepared prior to any procedure being performed and
shall include the time and date on which the tattoo/body piercing occurred, the name,
signature, address and age of the patron, a brief description of the work done, its location
on the patron's body, and the name of the tattoo/body piercing artist who did the work.
Records of each piercing of a minor shall also be kept in accordance with Niagara County
Local Law #1-2001, referenced at the conclusion of this Chapter.
(c) The records shall be entered in ink or indelible pencil in a book kept solely for this
purpose. This book shall be available at a reasonable time for examination by the Health
Officer. Records for each patron shall be preserved for at least three (3) years from the
date of the procedure. The signature of the patron shall be in the book.
Section 6 Consent
(a) It is unlawful to apply a tattoo to a minor.
(b) It shall be the responsibility of the person applying the tattoo to insure the person
receiving the tattoo is not a minor.
(c) Consent of a parent or guardian is required for any body piercing of a minor as per
Niagara County Local Law #1-2001, referenced at the conclusion of this Chapter.
Section 7 Procedures to be Followed in Tattooing
(a) There shall be printed instructions approved by the Health Officer given to each patron
on the possible complications and risks involved in the tattoo requested. It must also
include the care of the skin after tattooing as a precaution to prevent infection. These
instructions must also be verbally explained to each patron. Each patron shall sign a
release form stating that he/she understands the risks and possible complications involved
with tattoo procedures.
(b) A copy of these instructions shall also be posted in a conspicuous place in the tattoo/body
piercing establishment and clearly visible to the person being tattooed.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any tattoo/body piercing artist to perform any tattooing on an
individual who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No tattoo/body
piercing artist may perform tattoo while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
(d) Each tattoo/body piercing artist must wear a clean outer garment.
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