How to find a safe piercing studio

December 2, 2008

Image via Wikipedia

The following is re-posted, with permission, from piercer John Lopez, who was featured here earlier.   The Pierced Consumer is all about being the smartest piercing customer you can be, and here are some pointers from the other side of the needle:

Be a Smart Customer! Yes, I’m Talking to You!

It never ceases to amaze me just how many bad customers I have.  My impression is that about 75% of the people who walk into my shop have no clue at all about what goes on in a shop.  I’d go further and say that only about 1% actually ask the right questions and investigate safety concerns.  I’m not name-calling or trash-talking, just stating my observations.

It has been over three years since a customer walked in and asked to see my Autoclave Spore Test results! [Note: The image to the right is an autoclave.] Three years and not one request to see proof that our sterilization procedures work.  I believe the vast majority of people know that sterilizlation takes place in shops, so why don’t people ask about it?  The public appears to blindly trust our industry to be honest, professional and ethical.  If they only knew the truth!

I live in a very small city right now and I’ve lived and worked in San Diego, San Francisco & Seattle as well.  It’s the same everywhere I go:  A couple good shops surrounded by many bad shops.  By “good” shops I mean “safe” shops where strict Cross Contamination Controls and Decontamination Protocols are in place.  Completely ignoring skill and quality and only looking at safety, I’ve observed very few “good” shops in my 16 years in this industry.

Be a good customer.  Here are just a few SIMPLE things to ask when you visit any shop . . . yes, even your “regular” shop:

  1. Spore Test Results. Autoclaves should be tested regularly –at a minimum of monthly, preferably weekly.  Independent Lab Results should be available upon request.
  2. OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Training (citation omitted).  Usually in certificate form, but may also simply be logged in training documents.  Ask to see the Exposure Control Plan.  Don’t actually try to read it–just the fact that its’ there says way more than you might realize.
  3. Decontamination Room. Decontamination is the process of returning a contaminated item to a sterile state.  This process must take place entirely in a designated area separate from the shop’s work spaces.  Often the Decon areas are referred to as the “sterilization room(s).”

In my opinion, if these three things are being done correctly and openly the shop takes its role seriously and most likely you’ve found a “good” shop.  Hopefully the work coming out of that shop is also good.

Don’t be afraid to ask.  Don’t be afraid to [research] and get more information if you need it.  Don’t ignore your gut-instincts.  If you are uncomfortable at all just leave.

Instead of price shopping, go out safety shopping

Thanks again John for these great tips.  Be part of the one percent!

Originally posted here at Tribalectic.