Health Reports Online – Good or Bad?

Ontario website to include health reports of tattoo shops this fall

The plan is to post Health Inspections online in an effort to help customers choose the right location and artist for their tattoo. Now while this sounds like it could be a great step in the right direction, it does present some challenges. It goes without saying that an individual looking for a tattoo needs to avoid shops that aren’t regularly inspected, ‘see Scratchers’, however there are some challenges that still exist with the inspections themselves. We have all heard the horror stories on an almost weekly basis, and if Health Insepections can save people from unnecessary risk, we are all for it.

The issue with Inspections lies with the inspectors themselves, as I am sure you have all experienced major differences in expectations from one inspector to the next. We have heard some strange explanations on certain points which simply leave you scratching your head. In one Region, if a needle is expired, you may not autoclave the needle for use, even though it is made of stainess steel, because in their words, you could compromise the metal itself, really? In this same Region, you are permitted to use a 20 year old needle that has no expiry date, which makes no sense. We have also encountered many other inspectors who are unaware of newer products. The tell shops they can’t use a certain surface disinfectants, even though the product is the standard at hospitals like Sick Kids, and is recognized by multiple guidelines including Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee (PIDAC) Best Practises, PICNet Guidelines, Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Guidelines, to name a few. They tell shops they can’t use certain products simply because tattoo/piercing shops make up such a small part of their workload that they are unfamiliar with many protocols. Some inspectors state their opinion as fact when their is no mention of it in either the Provincial Guidelines or the Regions Best Practices. We have even heard of shops being told to have a bottle of alcohol on hand, even if they don’t use it, just so it looks like they do. Strange opinions, inconsistency among inspectors, god-like complexes, making up their own rules rather than sticking to the published guidelines make the inspection process very dificult for shops out there.

Now if these shops score poorly on sanitation, it is important for customers to know that they may be at risk. If these shops score poorly because they don’t run their shop according to a certain individual inspectors opinion of how they should be operating, this could be unfair and could ruin a shops reputation without any basis in reality. Regardless of the issues, residents of Guelph and Wellington and Dufferin Counties will be able to check into a shop online as early as this fall, and some areas already have this ability.