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Skin Piercing at the NEC

Guidance note for Exhibitors

The following guidance note is intended to provide you with information on the basic
standards expected of a stand who are carrying out skin piercing activity, whilst at
the National Exhibition Centre.
What is skin piercing?
Skin piercing activities include acupuncture, tattooing, electrolysis, cosmetic piercing
and semi-permanent skin colouring. All types of piercing undertaken in a commercial
capacity will fall under the requirements of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act
In addition, skin piercing activities also need to be registered with the local authority
under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. These include
acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, electrolysis, and cosmetic
piercing. Local byelaws are in place to ensure that hygiene standards ae
Why do I need to register?
The main purpose of registration is to ensure that piercing is being carried out safely.
In line with this the registration procedure ensures that basic amenities are provided
to allow the piercing to be conducted safely and hygienically, and that anyone
carrying out the piercing is competent to do so.
The registration requirement applies to the premises, i.e. the individual stand where
the piercing will be conducted and also any people who will conduct the piercing.
This is a one off registration to carry out skin piering at the NEC so no annual
renewal is required.
Checks will be undertaken that the necessary basic amenities are provided to allow
the piercing to be conducted safely, for example suitable and sufficient washing
Is there a charge for registration?
Yes, there is a charge for each operator this year it is 36 per person and the
payment should be submitted with your application forms.
Ideally the payment should be made by cheque & this should be made payable to
"Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council or "SMBC".

There is no charge to register the stand - although you still need to ensure that
the relevant form is completed and returned.

Who enforces health & safety at shows at the National Exhibition Centre?
Whilst the NEC have health & safety staff and the show organiser may also have
health & safety personnel, the actual enforcement of health & safety legislation falls
to Officers of the Local Authority in which the NEC is based - Solihull Metropolitan
Borough Council. Wherever possible the team will also give advice and can be
contacted on 0121 704 6826.
Is the show registered?
No - the Department will not issue blanket registrations for a Show and therefore
each exhibitor should ensure that in advance of the show the necessary
registration forms are completed and sent to this Department in time to allow the
application to be processed. Each stand operator has the responsibility for
registering their own stand - it is not the organisers responsibility.
When should I register my stand and operatives?
You should ensure they are registered in advance of the show. The registration
process will take approximately 2 weeks and therefore you should ensure that your
registration forms reach the Local Authority in time to allow the administrative
process. This year applications received after 4th May 2017 may not be
You should ensure that all required documentation i.e. training records are provided,
otherwise this will create a delay and hold up registration.
Are there set forms to apply for registration?
Yes - there are two separate forms: one for the registration of each person and one
for the premises i.e. the stand. These forms have not been made available to the
Show Organiser.
The people who will be conducting skin piercing activities at the NEC are
already registered with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council - do I need to
register them again for activities at the NEC?
No - providing the activity they will are undertaking is the same as that previously
registered, however you should ensure that their certificate is on display on the
stand at the show.
What would happen if I operated at the NEC without being registered?
It is an offence to carry out acupuncture, tattooing, cosmetic piercing, electrolysis
and semi permanent skin colouring unless all operators are registered. Health &
Safety Officers frequently visit the shows, and where skin piercing activities are
being undertaken, registration will be checked in addition to the necessary facilities.

What are the basic requirements for a stand where skin piercing activities will
be taking place?
The following are bullet points taken from the Authority's relevant byelaws. For full
copies of the byelaws contact health & safety officers of the local authority on 0121
704 6826.
there should be an adequate constant supply of clean hot and cold water with
sanitising soap or detergent
the treatment area should provide adequate privacy for the customer - this will
obviously be dependant upon the type of piercing being undertaken
all aspects of the stand, including furniture and fittings should be in good repair
and be capable of being effectively cleaned
you should have adequate provision for gas points and electrical socket outlets
for the equipment in use
all tables, couches and seats used by clients during their treatment should have a
smooth impervious surface which is capable of being disinfected & should be
covered with a paper sheet that is changed between each client
all waste materials should be placed in a washable, leak proof & covered
there should be provision to ensure safe storage of used needles i.e. covered &
leak proof & designed for the purpose
there should be adequate facilities and equipment for the purpose of sterilisation unless pre-sterilised items are used.
whilst conducting the treatment protective clothing, paper, towels, cloths etc. used
by the operator should be clean & sterile & not have been used for another client,
unless it has been sterilised
any equipment used during the treatment should be in a sterile condition, and be
kept sterile until it is used.
there should be adequate storage facilities for all items to ensure they remain
clean and free from contamination

hand and nails should be clean and nails kept short
be wearing clean washable clothing, or alternatively disposable covering
any open wounds must be effectively covered by an impermeable dressing