Tattooing and body piercings injuries
Any treatment that breaks the skin is invasive and carries the risk of infection and other complications, and there are some important safety considerations that need to be weighed before undertaking any body art procedure.
Tattooing and piercing have become incredibly popular in recent years, with an estimated 1.5 million Britons getting tattooed each year. The industry is said to be worth £800m annually and there are now about 1500 tattoo studios nationwide. It is reassuring that along with this popularity boom there has been an improvement in the image of this practice, from back street parlour to high street studio, which is largely down to the regulation of the industry in 2004.
Tattoo studios are now required to register with the local authority, so this is the first thing to check when looking to get a tattoo or piercing done. They should also advise you about allergies, general health and aftercare, and obtain your informed consent to treatments. They should also keep records of advice and treatment, so when you attend the studio you should make sure that they carry out these basic drills.
Reputable studios are operated by highly skilled artists, who have served an apprenticeship, but there are no formal qualifications you can ask to see, and so there is a risk that you will be treated by someone who lacks the necessary experience or expertise to be sure of carrying out a piercing or a tattoo safely.
Risks of infection
There are now a wide range of body piercings available, from eyebrows, tongue and lips to the navel, nipples and more intimate places. The more sensitive the site the higher the risk of infection, and bacterial infection is the major risk of injury from piercings. Infection of the wound can cause an abscess and lead to septicaemia or toxic shock.
There is also the risk of damage to blood vessels causing blood loss, particularly in areas of the body where there are many blood vessels e.g. tongue, lips, and of inflammation and scarring at the site of the piercing.
Different piercings carry different risks, so that nose piercings are susceptible to infection and ear cartilage infections can be particularly dangerous; oral and genital piercings can damage or obstruct function, causing pain.
Health and safety of the tatoo studio
The studio environment must be scrupulously clean and all equipment must be kept sterile to avoid the risk of contamination.
Similar health and safety requirements apply to tattooist and their studios. The main risks of something going wrong are from allergy – especially to primarily colour dyes – and infection. Less likely but more serious is the risk of blood borne diseases from contaminated equipment. There is also the possibility of bumps called granulomas forming under the tattooed skin or keloids from scar tissue.
Most studios will carry public liability insurance to cover accident or injury claims, so that when the claim is brought the insurers will investigate and pay out any successful claim, irrespective of the status of the business. So if the studio ceases trading or goes into liquidation that does not necessary mean the end of the claim.
How we can help
At Osbornes Solicitors we practice in Camden Town, one of the most popular places for body art studios, and we deal with many claims involving scarring or infection from tattoos or piercings that went wrong.
If you have suffered an injury after visiting a tattoo studio contact our specialist team of lawyers who after a confidential conversation will advise you on whether or not you are eligible to make a claim for accident compensation.
On contacting us you will speak in confidence to a member of our personal injury team who will ask you specific details about your injury including where and when it took place. It is helpful to the claims process if you can provide us with as much information as possible, including any relevant pictures of the injury, pictures of where the injury took place, details of any witnesses and reports of any medical treatment you had as a result of the injury.
We will then be able to advise you on whether or not you can make a claim for compensation.