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Deciphering the Code – a Look at the Auckland Council Code of Practice

Written by Ruth Nicholson on November 10th, 2014.      0 comments

On July 1st 2014 the Auckland Council’s Health & Hygiene bylaw and Code of practice (COP) came into effect for all commercial and home based businesses offering beauty services to the general public so where are we at, and what do you need to do to be compliant.

We will look at deciphering the code, putting it into plain language and looking at gaps where possible improvements might also need to be made.

These regulations apply to Auckland region only at this stage however other local councils are looking at reviewing their own regulations and may adopt some or all of these.

If your beauty business operates from a home-based premises, a mobile service whereby you travel to multiple clinics and provide services on their behalf or you have a pop up type temporary premises or fixed location premises, there are things you will need to have in place to ensure you meet the requirements of both the bylaw and the COP.
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These requirements are broken down into the following areas:
  • Room set up: i.e.: floor coverings, ventilation, laser controlled area,
  • Facilities requirements: i.e.: hand washing basins,
  • Training requirements: i.e.: minimum 12 months industry experience and evidence of professional development
  • Professional conduct: i.e.: not treating clients under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Consumables used: single use, no double dipping, suitable for purpose etc..
  • Devices used: electrolysis, dermal needling, pulsed light (IPL) or lasers,
  • Hygiene best practice: sanitation, sterile areas,
  • Disposal of contaminated material: sharps disposal, blood contaminated products, safe personal protection for operators and client.
  • Record keeping requirements: i.e.: storing client consent and consultation, information, adverse events or reactions, guidelines for treatments, before & after photographs,
Additional Recommended Best Practice (RBP): these extra points have been added to help clinics who strive for industry best practice, these RBP are not compulsory, in some cases they are not entire and more could be added at future revisions of the Code of Practice.

Minimum standards: these are regulations that must be adhered to, in cases where clinics do not meet these minimum standards at the time of inspection, a timeframe will be issued to become compliant. This period of time may vary between clinics and also be judged based on the actual shortfall, calculated risk to the general public, and degree of complexity to resolve the issue. For example the council are not unreasonable when older style premises are involved as clearly there are structural limitations at play. Likewise if or when there is a large amount of investment required to remedy an issue, council will work with the clinic owner to set out a reasonable plan. In some cases, such as ‘no windows’ a suitable window covering may be all that is required, so a trip down to the shops to purchase a $15 roll down blind, a screwdriver and 15 minutes installation might be all that is required. Council have shown that they are quite reasonable and willing to work alongside clinics to help them raise the standards rather than cause a major headache.

Inspections: These will be conducted by a nominated environmental health officer (EHO) who will either turn up unannounced and introduce themselves, or call ahead and make an appointment to see the owner or manager who will be expected to show them around the premises and answer any questions. It would be unreasonable for EHO’s to expect to be shown into a treatment room while a treatments is being undertaken on a client, however they may expect to see a treatment room after a treatment has been conducted to see what protocols are being undertaken in between clients, for example cleaning of surfaces, changing of linen and disposal of items used.

What’s missing? There are no definitions provided by council at this time for the following terms so NZ Laser has taken the liberty to provide some clarity around these, however submissions can also be made and should be encouraged if we as an industry want to see refinements or improvements to this Code of practice in the revised version due out in 2015.

“Risk of Breaking the Skin” – technically any treatment that causes an abrasion, piercing, wound or partial or full removal of any part of the skin structure could be interpreted as risk of breaking the skin, currently we feel that this term applies to: dermal needling, electrolysis,  high powered lasers such as tattoo removal and fractional or ablative lasers, however it will also apply to hair removal by waxing, tweezing or threading.
“health practitioner” - technically speaking this would be considered to be a nurses, either enrolled or registered, however the question has been posed that those beauty therapist with a bachelor of health science (Bsc) might also be considered to be deemed health practitioners. It would be assumed that these professionals would have undertaken a formal qualification in the area of health sciences.

“Controlled area” – in regards to the set up area used for conducting pulsed light (IPL) or lasers the requirements actually fall under the same industry guidelines however in fact the use of a class IV laser device requirements should be taken much more seriously, for example the need for an on-site laser safety officer (LSO). This has been mentioned in this document however it still remains a grey area as far as who requires one and who doesn’t. This will be better clarified next year when revised versions are helpfully more clearly defined. If your  clinic has a class IV laser and you are unsure please contact NZ Laser Training for more details.

“adequate ventilation” – It might be assumed that the word adequate could be interpreted differently depending on the treatment being conducted and the layout of the treatment room or clinic, this is an important issue as we consider things such as laser plume which can contain viral and biological contaminates such as the Human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV and herpes viral particles. However in the case of nail services there are strong chemical smells that can also be toxic or just unpleasant to those using the working space. Suggestions for adequate ventilation might include an extractor fan, smoke extractor, ionic filter device, plug in floor standing fans to encourage fresh air flow and sufficient windows to create natural airflow (exception being laser rooms).

“cleaned” – this word means wash, cleanse, disinfect. In the case of microdermabrasion metal tips, these should be scrubbed of debris such as dead skin cells and then sterilised, and allowed to dry before re-use. A quick wipe over with warm water is not sufficient. Alcohol is also not always sufficient as an anti-viral cleaner, there is more information to come on this when NZ Laser releases its own hygiene standards. In the meantime it would be advised to use Chlorhexidine which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. Often ‘disinfectant’ solutions are not providing a broad enough coverage, for example if the hand piece, instrument or device has been in contact with genital regions and then being used on another client.

“commercial industry experience of 12 months or more” – we would expect that this would be interpreted as actually conducting beauty treatments under supervision within a beauty clinic, however this definition is still a little under defined.

To fully understand what requirements your clinic or business must be adhering to, start by looking at your treatment menu and align these to the minimum standards definition listed below that they would best match. Then read each of these standards to drill down to the specifics for each. There are a lot of cross overs which you can apply simply by having an in- clinic protocols manual with templates for consent and consultation forms, and written post care forms for clients. Holding a meeting to sit down with all staff members to discuss this bylaw and code of practice is a good way to cover off what the clinic currently has in place, and to identify any places where gaps may exist. As each staff might naturally show a higher level of interest or specialty in a certain treatment type, it may also be a good idea to delegate the requirements to that individual so as to make the task of compliance a more easily manageable project.

Main relevant minimum standards that would apply to majority of beauty service providers:
  • Minimum Standard 3: Piercing of the Skin
  • Minimum Standard 3A: Body Piercing
  • Minimum Standard 3E: Electrolysis, Red Vein Treatment and Derma Rolling / Stamping
  • Minimum Standard 4: Risk of Breaking the Skin
  • Minimum Standard 4A: Hair Removal
  • Minimum Standard 4B: Manicure / Pedicure
  • Minimum Standard 4C: Exfoliation
  • Minimum Standard 5: Massage
  • Minimum Standard 6: Sun-beds
  • Minimum Standard 7: Pulsed Light and Laser Treatment
NZ Laser Training continues to work with Council to improve the mediation between industry and authorities, this new regulation has already stopped members of the public who have decided that they want to start their own laser clinic without any prior skin knowledge or training, however there are still some loopholes which should be closed. We rely on open communication and collaboration with industry who are at the coal face of these issues to carry on with the refinements we all want to see in place.

To make submissions of your suggestions for refinement, additions to be considered or objections to the current code of practice or bylaw wording please consider emailing the council representative compiling the feedback and queries from the industry and operators. We believe the deadline for submissions is January 2015 for the updated version which would likely be released in July 2015.

This article supplied by Ruth Nicholson from NZ Laser Training.
For Ruth's contact details please click HERE.

Please contact: Kalam Azad -  Team Leader Environmental Health South
Telephone: 09 301 0101 or Email:




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