RULES AND REGULATIONS
TATTOO/BODY PIERCING STUDIOS
AND TATTOO/BODY PIERCING ARTISTS
Camden County Board of Health
Table of Contents
V. Administrative Body
VI. Minimum Floor Plan Requirements
VII. Furnishings and Fixtures
IX. Dyes and Pigments
X. Piercing Jewelry
XIII. Tattoo Preparation
XIV. Body Piercers
XV. After Tattoo/Piercing Application
XVI. Disinfection of Workplace
XVII. Disposal of Waste
XIX. Client Files
XX. Application for Permit
XXI. Operator/ Artist Permit
XXIV. Enforcement and Penalties
The legal authority for this Rule is Chapter 16-5-71 and Chapter 31-40
of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. (O.C.G.A. Chapters 16-5-71,
31-40-1, 31-40-2, 31-40-3, 31-40-4, 31-40-5, 31-40-6, 31-40-7,
31-40-8, 31-40-9, and 31-5.)
The purpose of these rules and regulations is to establish reasonable
standards for individuals performing tattoo and body piercing
procedures and for the facilities from which the procedures are
provided. Such standards should insure the health and safety of all
individuals performing and receiving these services.
These regulations do not apply to a physician or osteopath licensed
under Chapter 34 of Title 43, or a technician acting under the direct
supervision of such licensed physician or osteopath.
Unless otherwise defined by specific sections as used in these rules
and regulations the term:
(a) "Antibacterial Solution" means any solution used to retard the
growth of bacteria approved for application to human skin and includes
all products labeled accordingly.
(b) "County" means the local County Board of Health or its duly
(c) "Currently Licensed Health Care Professional" includes physicians,
Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), and Licensed
Emergency Medical Technicians.
(d) "Department" means the local Board of Health
(e) "Administrative Body" means the partnership, the corporation, the
association, or the person or group of persons who maintain and
control the tattoo/body-piercing studio and who are legally
responsible for the operation of the studio.
(f) "Permit" means the authorization granted by the Department/ County
to the governing body to operate a tattoo/body-piercing studio.
(g) "Plan of Correction" means a plan for correcting deficiencies in
meeting rules and regulations of the local Board of Health.
(h) "Sanitary" means clean and free of agents of infection or disease.
(I) "Sanitized" means effective antibacterial treatment by a process
that provides sufficient concentration of chemicals for enough time to
reduce the bacteria count including pathogens to a safe level on
(j) "Sterilization" means holding an instrument in an autoclave for
required length of time at 15 - 30 pounds pressure at a temperature of
249.8 degrees Fahrenheit or 121 degrees Celsius.
(k) "Tattoo" means to mark or color the skin by pricking in, piercing,
or implanting indelible pigments or dyes under the skin.
(l) "Tattoo Artist" means any person who performs tattooing.
(m) “Body Piercing” means the creation of an opening in an
individual’s body other than the individual’s ear, to insert jewelry
or other decoration.
(n) “Body Piercing Artist” means any person who performs body
(o) " Body Art Studio" means any permanent building or structure on a
permanent foundation, holding a valid city or county business license
and permit from the County Board of Health, wherein a tattoo/body
piercing artist performs tattooing or body piercing. This shall not
include tattoo removal.
(p) "OSHA" means Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
V. Administrative Body.
(1) The administrative body shall be responsible for compliance with
the requirements in Chapter 31-40 of the Official Code of Georgia
Annotated, with applicable administrative rules and regulations of the
local County Board of Health, including but not limited to all
applicable statutes, rules and regulations regarding disclosure of
(2) The administrative body shall certify in its application the
name(s) and exact duties of employees/artists who have been designated
as being responsible for carrying out the rules and policies adopted
by the administrative body. The following information shall be
included: Social Security Number, DOB, gender, home address, home/work
phone numbers, ID photos of all operators/technicians.
(3) Prior to being granted a permit each body art studio shall develop
a written statement of policies and procedures outlining the
responsibilities of management.
(4) No person under the age of eighteen (18) shall be tattooed or
pierced, except that a physician or osteopath licensed under Chapter
34 of Title 43, or a technician acting under the direct supervision of
such licensed physician or osteopath shall be authorized to do.
(5) Tattoo/body piercing artists shall not be under the influence of
alcohol and/or drugs while performing tattoo/body-piercing procedures.
(6) Operators shall refuse services to any person, who in the opinion
of the operator, is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
(7) No animals, except for guide dogs accompanying disabled persons,
shall be allowed in the tattoo/body-piercing studio.
VI. Minimum Floor Plan Requirements.
(1) The body art studio shall be constructed, arranged, and maintained
as to provide adequately for the health and safety of its customers.
(2) The studio shall be constructed in a manner to allow the customer
receiving the tattoo/body piercing adequate privacy from observers.
The work area shall be separate from the waiting area.
(3) Body art studios must have adequate ventilation.
(4) Walls and ceilings must be painted or covered in a manner which
would allow for easy and effective cleaning. Paint or covering must be
light in color.
(5) Floors of the work area must not be carpeted. Surfaces shall be of
a nonabsorbent material that would allow for effective cleaning by
(6) A clean and sanitary toilet and hand washing facility shall be
made accessible to customers; however, it shall be separate from the
(7) The work area shall be equipped with at least one sink and basin
providing hot and cold running water for the use of the artists for
washing their hands and preparing customers for tattooing/piercing.
This area shall be provided with soap, an antibacterial solution,
single use towels or air blower, and individual hand brushes for each
(8) The facility shall be equipped with at least one utility sink,
providing hot and cold running water for use in cleaning reusable
receptacles and the facility.
(9)The work area shall be provided with adequate lighting.
(10) The work area shall not be used as a corridor for access to other
(11) The body art studio shall be constructed in a manner to allow the
customer receiving the procedure adequate privacy from observers; thus
the procedure room shall be separated by a fixed and solid door, wall,
or partition extending from floor to ceiling from any other area
including the waiting area.
(12) The body art studios shall not be allowed to occur in
automobiles, mobile, transitory or other non-fixed facilities. Such
non-fixed facilities include, but are not limited to, mobile homes,
tents, recreational vehicles, and trailers.
(13) Body art studios shall not be allowed in facilities used for
human habitation, any food service establishment, hair salon, nail
salon, retail sales area, hotel room or similar areas.
VII. Furnishings and Fixtures.
(1) Furnishings of the body art studio shall be maintained in good
condition, intact, and functional. Furnishings should be made of or
covered in a material that is easily cleanable and non-absorbent. The
studio shall be kept clean, neat, and free of litter and rubbish.
(2) Cabinets for the storage of instruments, dyes, pigments, single
use articles, carbon, and stencils shall be provided for each tattoo
artist and shall be maintained in a sanitary manner which protects
them from contamination.
(3) Work tables and chairs shall be provided for each tattoo/body
(a) Surfaces of all worktables and chairs shall be constructed of
material, which is smooth, nonabsorbent, corrosive resistant, and
b) Work tables and chairs shall be sanitized with a bactericidal
solution after each application.
(1) Bulk single use articles shall be commercially packaged and
handled to protect them from contamination. These articles shall be
stored in an area separate from the toilet facilities.
(2) All materials applied to the human skin shall be from single use
containers and shall be disposed of after each use.
IX. Dyes and Pigments.
(1) All dyes and pigments used in tattooing shall be from professional
suppliers specifically providing dyes and/or pigments for the
tattooing of human skin.
(2) In preparing dyes or pigments to be used by a tattoo artist, only
nontoxic sterile materials shall be used. Single-use or individual
portions of dyes or pigments in clean, sterilized individual
containers or single-use containers shall be used for each patron.
(3) After tattooing, the remaining unused dye or pigment in the
single-use or individual containers shall be discarded along with the
X. Piercing Jewelry.
Client and piercer should have appropriate size and quality
before the procedure begins.
Jewelry should be used in piercing shall consist of an approved
material suitable for permanent surgical implant, such as, high
quality surgical stainless steel (316LVM series), niobium,
titanium, platinum or a dense low porosity plastic material such
as Tygon or PTFE. Copies of the jewelry manufacturer’s
documentation, which verify compliance with standards, must be
available for inspection on request of the local Health
Department. Solid 14 karat, or high, white or yellow nickel-free
gold may be used. Purity verification must also be available for
inspection on request of the director. Appropriate jewelry has no
nicks, scratches, or irregular surfaces.
Ear studs or other jewelry designed for earlobe piercing are not
appropriate jewelry for other body parts and must not be used by
(1) Prior to the start of the tattoo/body piercing procedure the
artist should inspect his/her hands for hangnails, small cuts, sores,
and abrasions. If a cut, sore, or abrasion is detected, a bandage
should be applied for added protection before gloving. Trim
fingernails to insure that gloves are not punctured.
(2) All jewelry such as watches, rings, etc. should be removed prior
to the start of the tattoo procedure.
(3) Before working on each client, the fingernails and hands of the
tattoo/body piercing artist shall be thoroughly washed and scrubbed
with warm water, and antibacterial soap, using an individual hand
brush that is clean and in good repair. The hands should then be dried
by either an air blower or by single use towels prior to beginning
work on each client or when interrupted in the process.
(4) Single use disposable latex or approved non-latex examination
gloves shall be worn during the tattooing process. Gloves shall be
changed and properly disposed of each time there is an interruption in
the application of the tattoo, the gloves become torn or punctured, or
whenever their ability to function is compromised.
(5) Each artist shall wear a clean outer garment, apron or smock, or
use other protective barriers as needed. These items shall be changed
after each client.
(6) Tattoo/body piercing artists who are experiencing symptoms of
diarrhea, vomiting, fever, rash, or skin infections shall refrain from
tattooing/body piercing activities.
(7) Adequate numbers of sterilized needles and tubes must be on hand
for each artist for the entire day and night operation.
(8) Only single-use disposable razors shall be used to shave the area
to be tattooed.
(9) Smoking and consumption of food or drink is prohibited in body art
(10) Universal precautions are to be followed per OSHA standards and
(1) An operational sterilizer (autoclave) shall be provided in each
body art studio.
(2) Used non-disposable instruments shall be kept in a separate
puncture resistant container until brush scrubbed in hot water and
soap, and then sterilized by autoclaving.
(3) The following procedures should be followed during the
(a) Prior to being placed in the autoclave all equipment shall be
bagged, labeled, dated and sealed.
(b) Each autoclave bag may hold no more than one tube with needle and
(c) Autoclave shall be operated according to manufacturer’s
instructions and shall be made available for inspection
(d) Spore indicators shall be used a minimum of at least once a month
and the results must be kept at location for a minimum of three years.
XIII. Tattoo Preparation.
(1) Before placing the tattoo design on the client's skin, the artist
shall treat the skin area with an antibacterial solution.
(2) If an acetate stencil is used by a tattoo artist for transferring
the design to the skin, it shall be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed in a
germicidal solution for at least twenty (20) minutes and then dried
with sterile gauze or dried in the air on a sanitized surface after
(3) If a paper stencil is used by a tattoo artist for transferring the
design to the skin, it shall be single use and disposable.
(4) If the design is drawn directly onto the skin, it shall be applied
with a single use article only.
XIV. Body Piercers Shall:
Set up equipment in front of client.
(2) Open sealed autoclave bags containing sterile equipment in front
of client, and discard the autoclave bag.
(3) Disinfect all jewelry contaminated with only airborne pathogens
(not previously worn or contaminated) with a non-hazardous hard
surface disinfectant approved by the EPA. All jewelry contaminated or
potentially contaminated with blood borne pathogens (previously worn
by another person) should be autoclaved, stored in sterile indicator
bags, sealed and dated.
Pre-sterilize all needles used in piercing, use only on one
one sitting, for a single piercing, and immediately dispose of in a
medical sharps container.
(5) Pre-sterilize all forceps, tubes, etc. in sealed, dated, sterile
indicator bags. These items are to be used on one person, in one
sitting. After one such use, they must be autoclaved and stored in
sterile indicator bags, sealed and dated.
XV. After Tattoo/Body Piercing Application.
(1) The completed tattoo shall be washed with a single-use towel
saturated with an antibacterial solution.
(2) After the area has dried, apply a layer of antibacterial ointment
from a single use dispenser or applicator.
(3) A bandage or cover shall then be applied to the tattoo using
sealed telfa (non-sticking) pads.
(4) Verbal and written instructions, approved by the Department for
the care of the body art procedure site shall be provided to each
client by the operator upon completion of the procedure. The written
instructions shall advise the client to consult a physician at the
first sign of infection and contain the name, address and phone number
of the establishment. These documents shall be signed and dated by
both parties, with a copy given to the client and the operator
retaining the original with all other required records. The facility
shall also post in public view the name, address and phone number of
the local County Health Department and the procedure for filing a
complaint. The Notice for Filing a Complaint shall be included in the
establishment Application Packet.
XVI. Disinfection of Workplace.
Each body art studio must be kept clean and sanitary. The owner must
develop and implement a cleaning schedule that includes appropriate
methods of decontamination and tasks or procedures to be performed.
This written schedule must be based on the location within the studio,
the type of surfaces to be cleaned, type of possible contamination
present, the tasks or procedures to be performed, and their location
within the studio.
The following procedures should be adhered to.
Clean and sanitize all equipment and work surfaces with an
appropriate disinfectant after completion of tattoo/body piercing
procedures and at the end of work shift when surfaces have become
contaminated since the last cleaning.
Remove and replace protective coverings such as plastic wrap and
aluminum foil after each tattoo procedure
Inspect and decontaminate, on a daily basis, reusable receptacles
such as bins, pails, and cans that have likelihood for becoming
contaminated. When contamination is visible, clean and
decontaminate receptacles immediately, or as soon as feasible.
XVII. Disposal of Waste.
(1) Needles, razors, or other sharp instruments used during
tattoo/body piercing procedures, shall be placed in puncture
resistant, closed containers immediately after use.
(2) Needles shall not be purposely bent or broken, or otherwise
manipulated by hand.
(3) Containers of sharp waste shall be sent to a facility where they
are either incinerated or otherwise rendered non-hazardous in
compliance with 29 CFR Part 1920.1030, Occupational Exposure to Blood
(4) Contaminated waste which may release liquid blood or body fluids
when compressed or may release dried blood or body fluids when handled
must be placed in an approved “red “ bag, which is marked with the
International Biohazard Symbol. It must then be disposed of in
compliance with 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.1030, known
as “Occupational Exposure to Blood borne Pathogens”.
(5) Waste containers shall be kept closed when not in use.
(6) Disposable waste shall be handled, stored, and disposed of to
minimize direct exposure of personnel to waste materials.
(7) At least one covered waste receptacle shall be provided in each
operator area and each toilet room. Receptacles in the operator area
shall be emptied daily and solid waste shall be removed from the
premises at least weekly. All refuse containers shall be lidded,
cleanable and kept clean.
Persons performing the tattoo/ body piercing operation shall
obtain current certification in first aid and proof of attendance
at a Blood borne Pathogen training program (or equivalent), given
or approved by the Health Department. Training/courses provided by
professional body art organizations/associations or by equipment
manufacturers may also be submitted for consideration.
If the artist is currently in business at the time of application
for permit, the above certification must be obtained within sixty
(60) days from the date the permit is issued.
Proof shall be provided upon request that all operators have
either completed or were offered and declined in writing, the
Hepatitis B vaccination series; that antibody testing has revealed
that the employee is immune to Hepatitis B; or that the vaccine is
contraindicated for medical reasons. Contraindication requires a
dated and signed physician’s statement specifying the name of the
employee and that the vaccine cannot be given.
The owner or governing body must maintain a file on all employees
who perform tattoo/ body piercing procedures, which will be
available for inspection and includes the following:
Report of Hepatitis B Vaccination, Hepatitis B antibody testing
results or Statement of Contraindication to Hepatitis B vaccine.
Evidence of first aid certification and completed training in
Disease Prevention/ Blood borne Pathogens.
XIX. Client Files.
(1) For each client, proper records of identification, tattoos/
piercings administered, informed consent, and care instructions shall
be kept and retained for a minimum of two (2) years.
(2) Records of each client shall be prepared prior to the procedure
being performed and shall reflect the client's name and signature,
address, proof of age, date tattooed/ pierced, design, its location
and name of the artist.
(3) A statement of informed consent by the individual receiving the
tattoo/ piercing must be maintained on file.
(4) A statement by the client attesting that he/she is not under the
influence of alcohol and/or drugs shall be on file.
(5) A copy of procedures signed by the client advising them of proper
subsequent care of the tattoo/ piercing shall be maintained on file.
(6) A copy of instructions signed by the client informing them on the
risks involved and possible complications that might result from the
tattoo/body piercing procedure must be maintained on file.
XX. Application For Permit.
(1) The administrative body of each body art studio shall submit to
the local County Health Department an application for a permit to
operate under the rules and regulations. No studio shall be operated
and no tattooing/body piercing performed without such a permit, which
is current under these rules and regulations.
(2) The application for permit shall be made on forms provided by the
County Health Department
(3) Each application for a permit shall be accompanied by a floor
sketch of the studio showing windows, doors, room measurements,
chairs, tables and equipment placement for clients and/or staff.
(4) A listing of the names of all staff including the owner who will
be working in the studio shall be included with the application for a
permit. This listing shall include the full name of each staff person.
(5) The ownership of the studio shall be fully disclosed in its
application for a permit.
(6) Zoning and other local requirements regarding proper location and
establishment of studios shall be addressed by the applicant with the
responsible local officials.
XXI. Operator/ Artist Permit.
No person shall practice body art procedures without first
obtaining an operator/artist permit form the County Health
The operator/artist permit shall be valid from the date of
issuance and shall automatically expire in 1 (one) year and must
be renewed annually unless revoked sooner by the Department.
Application for the operator/artist permits shall include:
Date of Birth
Place(s) of employment as an operator/artist
Training and experience
Proof of attendance at a Blood borne pathogen training program
and first aid course given or approved by the Department.
(4) All operator/ artist permits shall be posted in a prominent and
conspicuous area where they may be readily observed by clients.
The administrative body of each body art studio shall obtain a
valid permit from the County/Department prior to beginning
operation. To be eligible for a permit the studio must be in
compliance with these rules and regulations.
The permit shall be displayed in a conspicuous place on the
Permits are not transferable from one studio to another.
A permit shall no longer be valid and shall be returned to the
County when the studio ceases to operate, has moved to another
location the ownership changes, or the permit is suspended or
A studio which fails to comply with these rules and regulations
shall be subject to the sanctions available to the County Health
Department pursuant to O.C.G.A. 31-5 including but not limited to
denial or revocation of its permit by the County/Department.
(1) The studio and its records shall be available for review and
examination by properly identified representatives of the County
(2) A copy of the inspection report shall be displayed in a
conspicuous place on the premises and also shall be available for
public inspection at the appropriate county wherein the studio is
XXIIII. Enforcement and Penalties.
(1) Enforcement of these Rules and Regulations shall be in accordance
with O.C.G.A. 31-5.
(2) No studio shall operate without a permit. Failure or refusal to
file an application for a permit shall constitute a violation of
Chapter 40 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Any
person who fails or refuses to file including, but not limited to, an
order to cease and desist operating a studio
(3) The County may refuse to grant a permit for the operation of any
body art studio that does not fulfill the minimum requirements of
these rules and regulations and may revoke a permit, which has been
issued, and invoke other sanctions if a studio violates any of these
rules and regulations. Before any order is entered refusing a permit
applied for or revoking a permit the applicant or permit holder shall
be afforded an opportunity for a hearing as provided in Article 1 of
Chapter 5, of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. The
notice of refusal or revocation shall contain directions on how a
hearing may be requested.
(4) The County/Department is empowered to institute appropriate
proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of
enjoining violation of any applicable provision of Title 31 of the
Official Code of Georgia Annotated, or of the Rules and Regulations.
These Rules and Regulations shall become effective on October 10,
Adopted September 12, 2007.
Notice of public hearing published in the Tribune & Georgian on the
June 22, 27, July 3, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20 and 25, 2007.
Public Hearing held on July 26, 2007
Dr. Willis Keene, Chairman, Camden Board of Health
Rules of the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Public Health,
Chapter 290-31-40, Tattoo Studios and Artists, circa 1999.
Ordinance of the Dekalb County, Georgia Board of Health to Regulate
the Body Craft Industry, 2005
Jewelry Standards, The Association of Professional Piercers (www.safepiercing.org/standards),
April 20, 2007