During the COVID-19 pandemic you need to keep yourself, your team and your clients safe. This includes looking at your whole practice and implementing measures to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.
These measures mentioned should be implemented upon returning to work until each State and Territories level of restrictions on tattoo studios change according to the threat posed by COVID-19.
It is important to understand what each of these levels mean for you and your practice.
The ATG have developed the information below for use by Professional Tattooists to assist them in the resumption of trade during the pandemic. Information for the general public is also provided.
FAQ FOR PROFESSIONAL TATTOOERS
As Australia seeks to reopen its economy and ease measures, the Australian Tattooists Guild has collated and is providing the information within this FAQ for Industry Professionals to inform artists and studio owners of the potential changes and responsibilities that may be stipulated by Government health authorities upon reopening of the industry within each State and Territory. The information contained within this document is not exhaustive, and may change at any point in time as updates continue to be provided by the relevant jurisdictions, State and Federal Health authorities.
During this pandemic information continues to evolve very quickly and we implore artists, owners and staff to regularly check the links contained within this FAQ to keep up to date on any potential changes.
If you have suggestions for improvements to this document please email the secretary
During the COVID-19 pandemic you need to keep yourself, your team and your clients safe. This includes looking at your whole practice and implementing measures to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. These measures will possibly become invalid and be reassessed as the levels of
restriction on tattoo studios change according to the current environmental risk assessment. It is important to understand what each of these levels mean for you and your practice.
In other words, these new measures might not seem so convenient but you will need to keep updated on what is recommended for safety in regards to COVID-19 as the pandemic continues.
It is in all of our best interests to make sure our profession does its part to keep the community safe.
To monitor current requirements in your jurisdiction visit https://www.australia.gov.au and follow the links to State and Territory requirements.
WHAT SHOULD STUDIO OWNERS DO TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COVID-19?
You should identify reliable sources of information such as health.gov.au and stay up to date with the most recent advice on COVID-19.
You should provide information to all contract staff and desk people on relevant official advice and procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes cleaning staff, where applicable.
You should take steps to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and protect staff.
You should access the latest information on your State or Territory Government Covid-19 website regarding the use of QR Codes in your business.
You should undertake a formal risk assessment process and apply a hierarchy of appropriate
controls. These will be specific to your work, your workplace and your workers. Possible controls include, but are not limited to:
Social distancing within the studio (i.e. by changing staff numbers, staggering working hours or managing studio space to minimise close contact)
Discouraging car-pooling between contractors to and from work
Promoting good hand hygiene by providing hand washing facilities and/or
alcohol-based hand sanitiser and appropriate waste receptacles
Undertaking frequent cleaning and disinfection of work spaces, particularly objects
and surfaces that are frequently touched
Holding only essential meetings, and doing so via video conferencing, phone, or
outside in the open air if possible
Avoiding non-essential travel
Train staff on respiratory hygiene and social distancing
Educate your staff about the early signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and the need
to stay home if unwell
Develop a policy that requires staff to stay home if unwell
Supporting employees to adhere to official advice about how to help reduce the
spread of COVID-19
Ensure you stay up to date with the latest advice and review your risk assessment regularly.
CAN STAFF GO TO WORK?
Until restrictions on trade within the tattoo industry are eased by the appropriate state government department, it is illegal to tattoo and can be enforced by law with heavy fines and/or imprisonment. Upon the easing of restrictions in your state and reopening of your studio, staff who are unwell should not go to work. If staff develop symptoms at work such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath they should seek medical advice.
For more information on identifying the symptoms of COVID-19, go to; https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-identifying-the-symptoms
HOW CAN STAFF HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS?
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene, social distancing and regular cleaning of potentially contaminated surfaces with an anti-viral agent or a hospital-grade disinfectant is the best defence against most viruses.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol based hand sanitiser including before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues and wash your hands afterwards
Avoid close contact with others
Stay more than 1.5 metres from people wherever possible
Wear PPE when in the vicinity of others under 1.5m
Clean all hard surfaces regularly during the day with Viraclean, an alcohol solution or a hospital grade disinfectant.
Immediately dispose of all waste into Medical hazard waste containers
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces such as bench tops, desks and doorknobs
Clean and disinfect frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys, wallets
and work passes.
Increase the amount of fresh air available by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.
CAN FOOD AND WATER SPREAD CORONOVIRUS?
Food-borne spread of COVID-19 is unlikely when food is properly prepared and cooked by a registered food outlet that is following precautions. Within the studio, do not share crockery or utensils - ask staff to bring their own.
It is currently unknown if the virus is able to survive in sewerage or drains.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD CLEANING STAFF TAKE?
For information on cleaning and disinfection, see the information sheet on ‘Information about routine environmental cleaning and disinfection in the community’ at:
HOW CAN WE HELP PROTECT VULNERABLE STAFF?
If you have staff in your studio who may be at increased risk of a serious infection, they should be encouraged to stay at home where possible. If staying at home is not feasible, a risk assessment should be undertaken for the vulnerable person. Risks need to be assessed and addressed, depending on the worker, the workplace and the work. This may include re-assigning vulnerable artists to roles where they don’t need to have contact with others, such as non-customer-based roles. If the risk cannot be appropriately addressed, studio owners and contractors should consider alternative arrangements such as leave.
People who are likely to be at higher risk of serious illness if they are infected with the virus include:
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
• People 65 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
• People 70 years and older
• People with compromised immune systems
There is limited evidence available to assess the risk in pregnant women.
The most current list of chronic medical conditions that increase risk of serious illness from COVID-19 can be accessed on the Department of Health website.
WHAT ACTION SHOULD I TAKE IF I SUSPECT SOMEONE AT MY WORKPLACE HAS THE VIRUS OR HAS BEEN EXPOSED?
A person who has recently been at your workplace such as a worker, client or customer may inform you they have, or may potentially have COVID-19. Depending on the circumstances (e.g. how recently the person was at your workplace and how closely they were in contact with others) you may have reasonable concerns about the health of others in your workplace.
You must continue to meet your WHS duties at all times. This may mean taking steps above and beyond public health requirements to eliminate or minimise, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of workers and others in your workplace (such as customers) contracting COVID-19. You are not expected and should not try to diagnose staff. However, you have a work health and safety duty to minimise the risk of workers and others in the workplace being exposed to COVID-19 so far as reasonably practicable.
If you reasonably suspect someone has the virus or has been exposed this creates a health risk at your workplace and you will need to follow the steps indicated by the Safe Work Australia guide-lines.
WHAT IF ONE OF OUR STAFF MEMBERS HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?
If a worker is found to have COVID-19 you need to follow the health advice provided by the local public health authority. More information for employers on what to do if a worker has COVID-19, is here.
DO I NEED TO NOTIFY ANYONE IF THERE IS A CONFIRMED COVID-19 INCIDENT WITHIN OUR STUDIO?
If someone at your workplace is confirmed to have COVID-19, you may need to notify your state or territory WHS regulator – see the link below for notification laws in each jurisdiction:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN EMPLOYEES RETURN TO WORK AFTER A QUARANTINE PERIOD?
Quarantine is where a well person who may be at risk of developing COVID-19 stays away from others to protect the community from illness in case they become sick with the disease.
Staff who have returned to Australia from overseas (or in some cases from interstate) must now quarantine at home or in a hotel for 14 days. People who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 must also quarantine at home or in a hotel for 14 days.
People who require a period of quarantine cannot go to work until their period of quarantine is over.
Employees who have completed a 14-day quarantine period (either after returning from travel or because of close contact with a confirmed case) and did not develop symptoms during quarantine do not need a medical clearance to return to work. Employers should not ask these employees to be tested for COVID-19 in order to return to work.
For more information, see:
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to- protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-self-quarantine-for-corona- virus-covid-19
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A STAFF MEMBER RETURNS TO WORK AFTER BEING IN ISOLATION AFTER HAVING TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?
Isolation is when a person is found to have the condition and needs to stay away from others to protect the community from illness. If you have an employee who has been confirmed to have COVID-19, public health authorities may contact the workplace to notify them. It’s advised that employers implore staff to notify them if having tested positive to COVID-19.
Employees who have been isolated after having tested positive for COVID-19 can return to work when they have fully recovered and have met the criteria for clearance from isolation. Clearance may be by the public health authority or the persons treating clinician BUT the criteria may vary depending on circumstances of the workplace and states and territories may manage clearance from isolation differently.
Make sure to get the correct information from your state health department about isolation clearance.
Even after recovering from COVID-19, people should continue to be diligent regarding hand hygiene and cough etiquette and practise social distancing.
DO I NEED TO CLOSE MY STUDIO FOR CLEANING AFTER A SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19?
There is no automatic requirement to close an entire workplace following a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. It may be unnecessary if the person has only visited parts of your workplace or if government health officials advise you the risk of others being exposed are low.
Whether you need to suspend operations in your workplace will depend on factors such as the size of the workplace, nature of work, number of people and suspected areas of contamination in your workplace.
More information on cleaning after suspecting or confirming someone who has been at your place of work has COVID-19 can be found here:
HHOW CAN WE HELP REDUCE STIGMA REGARDING COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACE?
It is important employers support staff returning to work and workplace discrimination does not occur. Employers can take steps to reduce stigma around COVID-19 for those returning to work after a period of precautionary self-quarantine or illness. These include:
Encouraging staff not to make determinations of risk based on age, gender, sexual preference, race or country of origin
Maintaining confidentiality regarding staff members confirmed to have COVID-19
Inviting staff to discuss, in private, any concerns about COVID-19 in the workplace
Advising staff that it is safe for their colleagues who have completed quarantine to return
to work once the period has been completed, as long as they don’t have symptoms.
The ATG encourage artists to stay up to date on the latest information by visiting: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
FAQ FOR THE PUBLIC
As Australia seeks to reopen its economy and ease business trading restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Tattooists Guild has collated and is providing the information within this FAQ to the general public on what professional tattooists in Australia may be doing to ensure their safety during this important time.
IS IT SAFE TO VISIT A TATTOO STUDIO?
Australian tattooists maintain high infection control standards and the safety of clients and staff are an essential part of daily operation in every tattoo studio. Under Covid-19 restrictions tattooists will take extra precautions within their practice to ensure the safety of the general public and all tattooing professionals have access to the latest COVID19 information provided by both federal and state government health departments.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I VISIT A TATTOO STUDIO?
During the COVID-19 pandemic additional steps are being made to stop the spread of the virus. Many studios have now changed the way they do business and it’s advised that you call ahead to understand any changes to the booking process. You might see an empty waiting room and be asked to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser as you enter the studio. You may also be asked to check in using the QR code which will be available at the front of the studio. Your tattooist will undertake all the normal precautions to maintain a sterile environment and will most likely use added precautions that are COVID19 specific. You will be asked some basic health questions before your appointment - this important information lets the artist know if you are well and are no risk to the spread of COVID19 within the work environment.
WHAT EXTRA STEPS ARE TATTOO STUDIOS IMPLEMENTING TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITY?
Tattooists are committed to staying up to date with the most recent advice on COVID19. Steps have been implemented to to minimise the spread of COVID19 in the work place. These steps may include but are not limited to:
• Utilising QR codes and staying up to date with the latest Government Health advice
Minimising the number of people in the studio at any one time.
• Screening clients for potential health risks prior to their appointment.
• Promoting good hand hygiene by providing hand washing facilities and/or alcohol based hand sanitiser and appropriate waste receptacles for clients and staff.
• Wearing PPE
• Educating staff about the early warning signs and symptoms of Covid 19 and the need to advise staff and clients to stay home if unwell.
SHOULD I NOTIFY THE STUDIO IF I HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?
In most circumstances the medical officer who is consulting with you will know what information to provide to whom in accordance with your jurisdictions notification laws. However if you feel like helping out and are in a position to do so it doesn’t hurt to let the studio and/or artist know.
If you have suggestions for improvements to this document please email the secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19 SAFETY CHECKLISTS BY STATE
Please click on your state below to view the current safety checklist for your state.