Personal Appearance Services

Townsville City Council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are delegated the responsibility for enforcing the Public Health (Infection Control for Personal Appearance Services) Act 2003 legislation. This legislation regulates personal appearance services such as hairdressing, beauty therapy, body piercing and tattooing. The purpose of this Act is to minimise the risk of infection that may result from the provision of personal appearance services.

Personal appearance services categories

Personal appearance services have two categories, higher risk and non-higher risk.

Only those activities classed as "higher risk" personal appearance services are required to be licensed with Council. A summary of the licensing requirements can be found in the Personal Appearance Services Licensing information sheet .

Operators of both higher risk and non-higher risk personal services need to comply with the Queensland government’s Infection Control Guidelines.

Higher risk personal appearance services

Personal appearance services that involve skin penetration have the potential to spread blood-borne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C and are therefore deemed "higher risk" activities. Inadequate hygiene practices can lead to these diseases being passed from person to person. As a result of this risk, these services are required to be licensed with Townsville City Council and are regularly inspected by EHOs to ensure compliance with hygiene regulations.

Licensable higher risk personal appearance services include:

  • body piercing, other than closed ear or nose piercing
  • implanting natural or synthetic substances into a person’s skin (e.g. hair or beads)
  • scarring or cutting a person's skin using a sharp instrument to make a permanent mark, pattern or design
  • tattooing (including cosmetic tattooing or semipermanent make-up)
  • tattoo removal (other than laser) that involves injecting the skin.

Non-high risk personal appearance services

Non-higher risk personal appearance services do not require a licence with Council to operate are. These types of services include:

  • beauty and nail services
  • hairdressing services
  • closed ear and nose piercing.

Although these activities are considered "non-higher risk" personal appearance services, they still have the ability to spread infections such as staphylococcal bacteria, cold sores, ringworm and scabies. There is also the potential to cause blood-borne disease inadvertently by penetrating the skin with instruments. Therefore, operators still need to comply with the Queensland government’s Infection Control Guidelines .

Although no licensing approvals are required from Council, you still need to contact Council to determine if any planning approvals or trade waste approvals are required.

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Complying with the legislation

The Act requires all proprietors of personal appearance services (including both higher risk and non-higher risk) to take all reasonable precautions and care to minimise the risk of infection to their clients, and to ensure their employees do the same.

Fixed or mobile premises that provide higher risk personal appearance services need to comply with the building standards in the Queensland Development Code MP5.2 Higher Risk Personal Appearance Services.

Training requirements - higher risk personal appearance services

Operators who carry out higher risk personal appearance services must complete the course HLTINF005 - Maintain infection prevention for skin penetration treatments before they can carry out any procedures. Training must be carried out by a registered training organisation.

Copies of employees’ attainment certificates are required to be submitted to Council.

Operating a mobile higher risk personal appearance services

If you are licensed in a different local government area, you may still operate in the Townsville local government area with this licence but you must contact Townsville City Council at least seven days before operating. Council will require details of the licence, and when and where you intend to provide services in the area. Notification may be given by phone but must be promptly confirmed in writing.

Licensing process

Follow these steps to become a licensed higher risk personal appearance service.

Step One – Check if you need other approvals

Other approvals commonly needed include:

  • planning approvals
  • trade waste approval.

General information on planning approval and trade waste approval requirements is provided on Council’s website . Contact Council on 13 48 10 if you need further advice.

Step Two – Apply to Council for a licence

Complete the Application for a Higher Risk Personal Appearance Service form. Contact Council to speak to an EHO if you have any questions.

The Design and Construction Criteria for Higher Risk Personal Appearance Services guidelines provide a summary of design requirements that EHOs will be assessing as part of the application assessment.

Ensure that you include copies of each operator’s Certificate of Attainment (HLTINF005- Maintain infection prevention for skin penetration treatments) with your application, to demonstrate that all persons who will be carrying out skin penetration procedures have met the minimum training requirements.

Submit the application to Council for assessment.

You must pay the application fee at this this time (refer to Council’s Fees and Charges (Regulatory Schedule)).

Step Three – Receive conditional approval

Receive conditional approval from Council. On your approval letter, there will be contact details for the EHO assessing your application.

Step Four – Final inspection of premises

When you are close to completing construction, contact Council and arrange a final inspection.

Step Five – Receive licence approval

At your final inspection, the EHO will either:

  • give you a list of any outstanding construction requirements and arrange for a follow up inspection; or
  • give you approval to operate and issue your licence. Your licence will be mailed or emailed to you after this final inspection.

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