Any body art services being offered to the public in Cattaraugus County are regulated by the Health Department. Body art is defined as the practice of physical adornment by permitted establishments/practitioners using techniques including, but not limited to, tattooing, cosmetic tattooing/micro-blading, branding, scarification, and body piercing. Piercing of the ear using pre-sterilized single-use stud-and-clasp systems (ear piercing guns) is exempt from these regulations.
Local regulations pertaining to the practice of body art are contained in Part 29 of the Sanitary Code of Cattaraugus County Health District and have been compiled into a small code booklet for quick reference. Currently, there are no statewide Health Department regulations pertaining to body art in New York.
Body Art Establishments
Each body art establishment (a location, place, or business where body art is performed) requires a “Permit to Operate” issued by the Health Department. Body art establishments receive a minimum of one annual inspection to ensure compliance with Cattaraugus County Sanitary Code requirements, as well as quarterly testing of any sterility equipment.
If you intend to operate a body art establishment in Cattaraugus County, please contact us before you begin construction/renovation of your workspace. There are several Sanitary Code requirements pertaining to the physical construction of body art establishments which may not be obvious to new operators.
Body Art Practitioners
Each body art practitioner (a person who conducts body art at a body art establishment) in Cattaraugus County requires a “Certificate to Practice Body Art” issued by the Health Department. To qualify for a “Certificate to Practice Body Art”, the artist must be at least 18 years of age, and must supply proof that they have successfully completed a “Bloodborne Pathogens Training” course meeting OSHA standards.
Please note that body art practitioners may only practice body art at a permitted body art establishment. The practice of body art in other settings (i.e. parties, private residences, public spaces, etc.) is prohibited.
Body Art Age Restrictions
The minimum age of consent to receive a body art procedure is 18 years of age for all forms of body art. Minors less than 18 years of age may receive body piercing procedures (excluding piercing of the genitalia) with explicit parental consent.
Tattooing, micro-blading, branding, or scarifying of a minor less than 18 years of age is strictly prohibited, regardless of parental consent. The marking of a minor with indelible ink or tattooing is considered “unlawfully dealing with a child” under NYS Penal Law, Section 260.21(2). Any violations of this statute will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency in addition to administrative action taken by the Health Department.
The Cattaraugus County Sanitary Code requires body art practitioners to keep copies of identification for each body art client (and consenting parent if the client is a minor) as well as records of each procedure they perform.
The purpose of these recordkeeping requirements is to ensure that age restrictions are observed and to provide a method to contact body art clients in an unlikely event that a disease outbreak or other critical issue is identified at the establishment. These records are to be maintained by the body art establishment, kept on site, and made available during inspections. Body Art Establishments are NOT required to provide copies of these records to the Health Department unless a public health issue is identified.