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The first criminal conviction for a body piercer in Scotland was secured yesterday, following investigations by the...
The first criminal conviction for a body piercer in Scotland was secured yesterday, following investigations by the City of Edinburgh Council. Michelle Black of the Beauty Academy, Motherwell, was found guilty of four offences at the sheriff court in Edinburgh. The offences include failure to conduct her business in a safe manner due to suffering the effects of alcohol whilst trading.

The offences are as follows:

1) Inadequate sterilisation procedures

2) Failure to conduct her business in a safe manner due to suffering the effects of alcohol consumption whilst trading

(Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 3 (1))

3) Failure to carry out a suitable and efficient Risk Assessment

(Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1992, Section 3)

4) Failure to carry out a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Assessment

(Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulation 1999, Section 6 & 7)

The conviction follows inspections by the City of Edinburgh Council at Homelands Dance Event at Ingliston, Edinburgh in 1999, when environmental health officers visited to carry out routine health and safety inspections on site.

Ms Black pleaded not guilty to the charges in a continuation of the trial, suspended from an earlier trial on 5 March 2001. Ms Black was found guilty and will be sentenced on 19 November 2001.

Eric Robinson, head of regulatory services said:

'As part of their routine checks at the dance event, council officers carried out extensive checks of Ms Black's premises and equipment. They also took a detailed look at processes and procedures as well as her understanding of the risks associated with her activities. All were found to be severely lacking and the business was immediately stopped. The officers also identified Ms Black to be under the influence of alcohol whilst trading - noting her speech to be slurred, her breath to smell of alcohol and her difficulty in standing whilst conversing. This was confirmed by two police officers and two customers.

'The officers involved are to be commended for their hard work and diligence in ensuring that this trader was successfully prosecuted. We would urge all involved in body piercing of the need to be fully aware of the risks associated with their practices: if the offender had done so in this case, she would not have put the health of the public at such great risk.'

Brian Fallon, executive member for the environment, said:

'The conditions in which Ms Black was operating were not only irresponsible but dangerous to the public, and we are delighted with this conviction. This should serve as a warning to all: we will simply not allow the practices of a few to endanger the health of others. We hope that the courts take the strongest possible action when they sentence.

'This case serves to highlight the need for all body piercers to be licensed. At present all premises used by acupuncturists, tatooists, earpiercers and electrolysists must be registered by the council. But this only allows us to keep an eye on premises, not people. A licensing scheme could help us ensure that people operating were doing so with high standards of hygiene and practices.'

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