Skin penetration

Registering a business involving skin penetration

Under the NSW Public Health Act 2010, a skin penetration procedure is defined as; Any procedure (whether medical or not) that involves skin penetration (such as acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing or hair removal), and includes any procedure declared by the regulations to be a skin penetration procedure.

For the purpose of the legislation, skin penetration procedures include any of the following procedures:

  • Tattooists
  • Beauticians/Nail Technicians (Including but not limited to; cuticle cutting,  micro-dermabrasion, hair removal using wax or electrolysis, cosmetic enhancement, semi-permanent make-up, cuticle cutters, razor scrappers and any beauty treatment which involves the deliberate penetration or removal of the skin).
  • Body/ear piercing
  • Unregistered acupuncture and dry needling practitioners
  • Colonic lavage practitioners

How to register your business

If your business performs any of the above procedures that involve the deliberate removal of the skin, you must register your business with Council. To register your business please download the registration form below, and send it to us.

Skin penetration procedures carried out by a health practitioner registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, or by a person acting under the direction or supervision of a registered health practitioner, in the course of providing a health service, are not subject to the provisions of the Act or Regulation.

As of 1 July 2012, all Chinese herbal medicine practitioners, Chinese herbal dispensers and acupuncturists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority (AHPRA), you can contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495. Once registered with AHPRA, these types of premises will no longer be required to register with Randwick City Council.

Skin penetration procedures not covered by this legislation include procedures carried out in the practice of a registered medical practitioner such as a dentist, chiropractor, osteopath, dental technician, nurse, optical dispenser, optometrist, pharmacy, physiotherapist, podiatrist, or psychologist.

Similarly it does not include a procedure carried out by a person acting under the direction or supervision of such a professional where the procedure is carried out as part of that professional practice. These professionals are governed by other legislation and infection control guidelines.

The procedures carried out by barbers and hairdressers, where skin penetration is not intended and is not a deliberate part of the process are not considered to be skin penetration procedures and are not covered by the legislation.

Council's role is to protect public health by ensuring all operators are registered, conduct inspections of premises to ensure compliance with regulations and guidelines, maintain a public register.

Penalties & enforcement

The Public Health Act gives power to Environmental Health Officers (EHO's) to enter and inspect premises believed to be used to carry out skin penetration procedures and to take certain action in relation to those premises. These powers include:

  • Inspect the premises
  • Make inquiries
  • Ask questions
  • Examine, inspect and test equipment
  • Take samples
  • Take photographs and videos
  • Require records to be produced
  • To examine and copy the records
  • Issuing an Improvement notice, Prohibition order, Penalty infringement notices (fine) or commence legal proceedings.

Annual inspection fee

 In the case of Environmental Health inspections, fees were introduced under the Local Government Act 1993 to contribute to the costs of inspection, administration, education and compliance services.

Council approved fees are charged once a year for Inspection of Food premises (high, medium and low risk), hairdressing, beauty and skin penetration (tattooing, electrolysis, acupuncture etc) premises, air conditioning cooling towers and boarding houses/hostels.

A re-inspection fee may also be charged if a non-compliant premises requires more than the approved number of inspections in one year.

Last Updated: 24 October 2022
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