One of the biggest occupational hazards tattoo artists face is blood-borne illness. There are many dangerous blood-borne illnesses out there, including hepatitis B and HIV, and being exposed to your customers' blood means you're at risk. Thankfully, it's easy to drastically reduce your chances of contracting a blood-borne infection. Here are 3 steps beginner tattoo artists can take to stay free of needlestick injuries and disease.
Use The Right Supplies
Ideally, all tattoo artists should use disposable supplies where possible. This is especially important when it comes to sharp items that come into contact with blood, including needles and razors. When you're just starting your tattoo parlour, it can be tempting to opt for reusable supplies to save money, but non-disposable sharps understandably pose a greater risk to both you and your customers. Alongside this, you should also make sure you invest in a sharps handling kit with a tool to pick up used needles. Picking up sharps with your bare hands or even with gloves is one of the easiest ways to get a needlestick injury.
Make a Post-Exposure Plan
It's impossible to completely eliminate the risk of pricking yourself, so all tattoo artists need to make a post-exposure plan to follow in the event that they or one of their employees gets pricked by a used needle or razor. This exposure plan should contain 3 main procedures: getting a vaccination or medication, evaluating the situation post-exposure, and appropriate decontamination procedures. Decontamination of any area that could have come into contact with infected blood can be carried out using your usual method (usually bleach and disinfectant). As there are now treatments available to reduce your risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis B if you've been exposed to contaminated sharps, consulting a medical professional will be the most important part of your plan. Once you've dealt with treatment, write down an evaluation of the exposure that details who was injured, where, when and how they were exposed to contamination, the treatment they received, and whether any illness was contracted as a result. Remember to record any incidents in one main incident log.
Get Sharps Collected Regularly
One common way tattoo artists get needlestick injuries is by trying to dispose of sharps in a container that's too full. This usually happens when the container spills over or when an artist tries to wedge a needle into a bin with no space. That's why it's crucial to use the services of a reputable sharps collection company who can regularly and safely collect and dispose of your containers. For more information, contact a sharps collection service.Share
28 August 2017
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