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Views sought on bylaw to better protect appearance clients

Hutt City Council is calling for submissions on a proposed bylaw aimed at better protecting the health of people using the services of tattooists, skin piercers and beauty therapists.

The proposed appearance industry bylaw would require people and premises in the industry to comply with minimum standards for sterilisation and hygiene. It would also license service providers, involving inspections and certification by Council’s environmental health team.

Council Environmental Team Leader Dean Bentley says the proposed bylaw’s main aim is to reduce the risk to consumers of infection and the transfer of communicable diseases like Hepatitis B and C, HIV/Aids and viral, bacterial, fungal, wound and skin infections.

“While a number of businesses have good policies and practices to prevent their clients getting cuts or infections, other operators don’t. Some don’t realise the way they currently operate is no longer best practice,” he says.

A Regional Public Health survey of 57 nail and beauty salons in the Wellington Region in 2017 found few operators providing manicure and pedicures were adequately cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising equipment that pierces the skin.

A Regional Public Health paper published in 2011 detailed two cases of life-threatening cellulitis in Lower Hutt, and a survey of general practitioners and emergency departments found another eight cases. All 10 cases involved tattooing. In addition, ACC data for 2016 to 2019 shows an average of 23 new claims and 46 active claims per year related to the appearance industry.

Regional Public Heath Medical Officer of Health, Dr Annette Nesdale, says there is currently no national legislation regulating the appearance industry.

“Many councils have already brought in local bylaws to protect the community,” she says.

The proposed bylaw would cover appearance industry businesses operating out of traditional bricks and mortar premises, as well as mobile services and people providing services out of their homes.

Submissions open on Tuesday 8 October 2019 and close at 4pm on 11 November 2019.

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