On Wednesday 7 th April 2021 Alex Wilkins, Lola Slider and Becky Crossan
attended the Regulatory Services Partnership webinar for close contact services on behalf of the UKAPP. The Regulatory Services Partnership is a regional body
covering three London Boroughs – Merton, Richmond Upon Thames and
Wandsworth – but the information discussed in the meeting was also recorded to be posted online to benefit businesses in other local areas.
The focus of the meeting was to discuss government guidance and practical
steps for reducing the risk of Covid 19 in close contact businesses. In his capacity as Medical Liaison for the UKAPP, Alex Wilkins presented a piercing-focused
perspective of preventing the spread of Covid 19, whilst also acknowledging that
many of the suggestions were applicable to other sectors.
Alex began by explaining that the piercing industry already has confident
working knowledge of using PPE and preventing cross contamination, which has
been beneficial throughout the pandemic. He explained to the attendees how the
UKAPP had released recommendations for the piercing industry (applicable to both members and non-members) about how to reduce the risk of Covid ahead of re-opening after the first lockdown. Some of the areas he covered in his presentation were: the use of HEPA filtration in the procedure room and reception area, face coverings, moving over to working by appointment only, hand sanitising, and the importance of online consultations. He also explained that due to the piercing industry’s prior knowledge of avoiding cross-contamination in the piercing room, it was actually in the reception area of the studio that many studios found they were changing their work process. Alex explained that the additional cleaning that has started to take place in the piercing studio has been in reception and waiting areas, which has meant that studios have had to offer extra training to counter staff to make sure they are up to speed on hygiene and PPE. He emphasised the importance of having a Covid 19 Procedure Manual and Action Plan, as well as a risk assessment and guidelines for all staff.
Paul Miloseki-Reid chaired the meeting on behalf of Trading Standards and
he explained how some of the information surrounding how the virus spreads has changed through more research over time. One important point he made was that research now shows that it is virtually impossible for the virus to live on a surface for three days, as previously thought. This means that surface transmission is much less likely to happen. By no means did he suggest we stop regular cleaning, however, it is good news for studios that like to keep magazines or portfolios in their waiting area. He also further emphasised the importance of a risk assessment that is unique to your individual business. He advised thinking about your client’s journey from the moment they enter the studio until they leave and using this to make sure that every aspect of their visit is reflected in the risk assessment.
The final speaker was Raveena Purewal from Environment Health. Raveens
presentation focused on the rules that have stayed the same since the previous
lockdown. She emphasised the requirement for businesses to display the NHS Test and Trace QR codes and encourage customers to use them. She also clarified that every business must continue to have an additional test and trace system in place for customers who are unable to use the app.
Over all, the meeting was a great opportunity to share best practice with other
close contact industries and local authority bodies and Alex did a fantastic job of
explaining how our industry has been particularly forward-thinking and pro-active with keeping our clients safe, We’re hopeful that the UKAPP will be able to continue to nurture a good working relationship with Trading Standards and Environmental Health around the country to the benefit of everybody in our industry.
Becky Crossan. Public outreach and liaison