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Occupational exposures to infectious diseases during body piercing: an evaluation of two piercing salons.

Weber A
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :28
In 1999, NIOSH responded to requests from two piercing studios in Florida to evaluate potential occupational exposures to infectious diseases during body piercing. Both requests were prompted by a Florida ruling requiring the Department of Health to regulate body piercing studios. The primary purpose of the ruling is to prevent infections in those receiving piercings, not in those performing piercings. The lack of infection control awareness in this young work force, and the absence of available safer needlestick devices were identified as unique challenges in dealing with this occupational group. A qualitative risk assessment consisted of observing piercing practices, disposal of sharps and infectious waste, disinfection of surfaces, sterilization of instruments, and use of personal protective clothing. While a multitude of articles have been published regarding infections at the site of piercings, there were no available articles addressing occupational risks to piercers. Observations indicated that needlesticks were the primary hazard noted during piercings and were more likely to occur when the unprotected needle was exiting the piercing site. Sharps injuries were also possible during the transfer of contaminated needles from the piercing area to sharps containers. Cross-contamination of instruments and surfaces was identified as a potential hazard, and while a variety of disinfectants were available in the studios, latex gloves were used while handling these chemicals. Findings from these evaluations suggest a great need for educating this work group on infection control practices and the benefits of receiving hepatitis B virus vaccinations. In addition, an exposure control program, as required by OSHA, should be prepared at these facilities including post-exposure follow-up. Since this industry has been largely over-looked, basic surveillance activities are needed to determine the number of licensed body piercers, rates of needlesticks/sharp injuries among them, and whether they are being occupational exposed to infectious diseases.
Occupational-exposure; Infectious-diseases; Safety-measures; Safety-education; Workplace-studies; Qualitative-analysis; Risk-analysis; Injuries; Bloodborne-pathogens; Needlestick-injuries
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury; Work Environment And Workforce; Special Populations; Research Tools and Approaches; Risk Assessment Methods
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division