Next TPIU meeting

The next TPIU meeting will be held at 12 noon on Monday 12th May 2014 at the usual venue of the Marx Memorial Library in Farringdon, London. On the agenda so far, we have:

    • Primary authority partnerships
    • TPIU training events
    • Plans for the summer AGM

At the summer AGM, we will be including the annual vote on committee members, so start thinking about being involved? Maybe you want to stand for election? Start thinking and get involved.

Cross Contamination Training Event

The TPIU is holding a training event on best practice for dealing with cross contamination and the managing its risks in the studio. Attendance on the course is recommended for apprentices and anyone wanting to refresh their skills in line with the new tattoo and piercing toolkit. The course will be facilitated by former TPIU president Marcus Henderson and current TPIU vice-president Cilla North.

The training takes place at the village meeting hall in Teynham, Kent (a short train ride from Charing Cross and London Bridge train stations) on Wednesday 26 February 2014.

Morning – 1000-1300hrs

Afternoon – 1400-1700hrs

For TPIU members, the course costs £25 – which can be claimed back on your income tax as this counts as part of your continuous professional development. To reserve your place, please email stating your name, studio you work for, a preference for either the morning or afternoon session.

The next TPIU meeting

The next TPIU meeting is on Monday 2nd December at the Marx Memorial Library in Farringdon, London at 12 noon. On the agenda are:

  • Working with EHOs on the best practice guidance
  • The situation in France re. banning coloured tattoo inks
  • Working with an internet documentary maker on a short film

If you’d like to attend, please contact us via FB or Twitter to reserve your place.

How the TPIU supports members

The TPIU recently supported a member who wrote back to us with these very lovely words:

“A customer decided to take me to court as his expectations were not met in the tattoo cover-up I did for him. After 7-8 months of worry and NO support from the FSB [Federation of Small Businesses] or insurance companies, the TPIU were hugely supportive. If the case had not been thrown out of court, the TPIU would have accompanied me to court and provided professional support and expert witnesses. The feeling of having the support of my peers in my hour of need is priceless. Thank you TPI.”

The TPIU is here to help and support its members – and it is great that we not only helped professionally but were also able to help reduce the stress this person was under at the time.

TPIU Response to Underage Tattoo

The British tabloid paper The Daily Mail published this article on 24th August 2013 about a fourteen year old child who was tattooed by a scratcher who had bought a cheap tattoo kit from eBay. Ross Richardson was prosecuted and fined £40 plus costs. This was a very light punishment for someone breaking the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969.

The TPIU has previously approached eBay to ask them to ban the selling of cheap tattoo kits, as it leads to untrained scratchers tattooing underage children in unhygienic surroundings, reusing needles and caps which can lead to serious infections, including hepatitis and HIV. Management at eBay have so far refused to consider this – which can only lead to more incidents like this one.

Operator Guidance Document Launched Online

The Tattoo & Piercing Industry Union has been working closely with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Public Health England and the Health & Safety Laboratory to produce a document that gives practical help and advice for tattooists and piercers in running a safe and hygienic studio. It has taken several years of work across several public organisations (as well as the TPIU) as every piece of advice has been academically researched, cross referenced and validated.

This document will also be distributed to Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) so that they are aware of the standards required – and so that studios know what EHOs are looking for during inspections.

The Operator Guidance can be downloaded here for free, and includes the main toolkit, checklists and posters.

Next Meeting

The next TPIU meeting is at 12 noon on Monday 30th September at the Marx Memorial Library in Farringdon, London. If you’d like to attend, you can reserve your place by emailing

You can find directions to the Marx Memorial Library and details about its history here.


Throughout 2012 the TPIU has continued to assist and support its members with various issues that arise from the day-to-day running of busy studios up and down the country. Such as problems with EHO’s, licensing/registration issues, advising on legal matters etc. as well as offering assistance and advice on studio set up, equipment and ways to improve operational standards.

TheTPIU has liaised closely with the CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health), HPA (Health Protection Agency) and the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) on the development of the new Operator Guidance document which is due for national release early in 2013. This will be the industry standard and be used by EHO’s across the country to ensure that they’re all working to the same guidelines.

CIEH (Wales) have asked the TPIU to assist and support in a pilot scheme (initially in Wales) which will be a star rating scheme (participation will be voluntary) similar to that which currently operates in food handling businesses. This scheme will enable the public to easily identify studios that achieve high operational standards.

CIEH Wales have also been one of the most active in the country with finding and prosecuting scratchers, which can only be a good thing. This is something that they plan to continue throughout 2013. Remember there is a ‘Scratcher Catcher’ form available to download from the TPIU website. The TPIU have continued to highlight the scratcher/ unlicensed/ unregistered operator issue and are pleased to see this matter finally being taken seriously by the relevant authorities, and we hope to see further action to combat this ongoing problem. There will also be multi-media campaigns to make the public aware of the potential dangers to their health by using unlicensed scratchers.

2013 will herald the start of TPIU run training days and seminars aimed at members of the industry (registered or licensed) who wish to improve their knowledge in various topics surrounding our industry such as, First aid, infection control, record keeping etc.

As always the Union is only as good as its membership. We always need active support and assistance from everyone working in this business, from the receptionist to the cleaner! If you are already a member please try and get along to some meetings and have your say. If you’re not a member, JOIN! Come along and have your say. We are the only organized group of tattoo artists and body piercers that are in a position to really influence the future of our industry.

The TPIU is a democratic trade union. One member one vote.

Download a membership form.

Annual General Meeting 2012

The AGM for the TPIU will be held on Monday 18 June 2012 at 12 o’clock at the Marx Memorial Library in London.

As well as the usual AGM business (voting of positions etc.), there will be talks relevant to the industry – not just the union. More details once speakers are confirmed.

ALL TPIU all members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

One item for the AGM agenda is nominating regional representatives to represent the
TPIU at conventions etc., as well as being a local point of contact for members, EHOs etc