Original Blackstar Protocol

In 1993, we were visited by a health inspector in Ottawa, Canada. She handed us a list of requirements that some busy person in their department had hastily composed using an existing restaurant protocol. As you can well imagine, few of the clauses had any relevance to blood-borne pathogens. (It is unlikely that Salmonella will be an ongoing problem in a piercing shop.)

I re-wrote the protocol for them, explaining why I was discarding or altering the clauses they had, and adding a number of things that they had neglected to consider. This re-write became their working document, and I was asked to present it to the regional inspectors in a half-day training seminar.

This new protocol was divided into sections on Definitions applicable to a piercing establishment, requirements for Facilities, requirements for the handling and use of Equipment Instruments and Materials, requirements to be met by Personnel in the studio, Procedures for protecting the health of the public, as well as requirements for Waste Disposal and Record Keeping. It was a starting point.

This original protocol began to make the rounds through the various regional departments in Ontario, being adopted or incorporated in their own regulations, until the Ontario Government finally released its Protocol for Personal Service Workers in January 1998. The Provincial Protocol was presented to a CIPHI conference in June 1999, to which I was invited. Although accreditation is not important, it was heartening to see the influence that I had in this document. Many of my original concepts have been incorporated and expanded, and at least one clause (on record keeping) has survived almost intact.

We have a new starting point. I hope that further advances in requirements and enforcement will be made.

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