Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme

Are you thinking of getting a tattoo?  Check the hygiene rating of the studio.

What is the Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme (THRS)?

The THRS is a compulsory inspection scheme. All tattoo studios in the borough are inspected and given a rating on cleanliness and hygiene control measures (not quality of artistry).

The purpose of the scheme is to:

  • drive up standards and adoption of Best Practice within the tattoo industry
  • reduce risks of infection and transmission of infectious diseases from tattooing procedures
  • inform YOU, about the hygiene standards within tattoo studios so that you can make an informed decision on where to go for a tattoo.

Each studio is awarded a rating from 1-4:

1 - needs improvement, 2- satisfactory, 3- good, 4 - very good, based upon the following criteria:

  • cleanliness of premises and fittings
  • cleansing and sterilization of needles, instruments, materials and equipment
  • record keeping
  • cleanliness and personal hygiene of operators

The scheme is supported by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Tattooing and Piercing Industry Union and Public Health England.

Why is hygiene so important?

Tattooing involves piercing the skin with a needle and inserting ink into the skin to change the pigment. Piercing the skin in a dirty environment, using contaminated equipment and/or poor quality ink can lead to unwanted side effects. These can include itching, pain, skin infections and scarring or worse still you may be exposed to diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV. It is for these reasons that you should check whether a studio has a hygiene rating and what score they have been given.

What are the legal requirements for a tattoo studio and tattoo artists?

All premises and artists offering tattooing must be registered with the Council under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. Upon registration, the premises will be inspected in accordance with health and safety legislation and Stafford Borough Council Byelaws. Tattoo artists are asked questions on infection control and must demonstrate how they put into practice those control measures. They are also required to show the inspector their work station and all equipment used for tattooing. Businesses operating without a registration or in poor sanitary conditions can face closure and prosecution.

The THRS compliments the registration requirements providing the public with a hygiene rating score reflecting how well the business is controlling the risks associated with tattooing.

How do I find out the hygiene rating of a studio?

All studios will be given a hygiene rating window sticker and certificate to display in the shop window showing you the score they have been awarded, or you can check their score on the current hygiene rating table.  

What should I do if I cannot find a hygiene rating?

If you cannot see a hygiene rating window sticker or certificate in a studio, or find the name and address of the business on our website, please contact Regulatory Services on Tel: 01785 619000 or via email: ehtechsupport@staffordbc.gov.uk for advice.  Alternatively, you can  complete the 'Scratcher Catcher' form (pdf 394kb) by printing off a copy and returning to the address on the form. The business maybe operating illegally without a registration from the Council. This could mean the premises has not been inspected for cleanliness and hygiene by Environmental Health and may pose a risk to your health and safety. Stay vigilant, stay safe and report any concerns about a tattoo studio or tattoo artist to the Council in confidence.