The owner of a cosmetic piercing business based in Coleraine has been prosecuted for multiple offences in a case brought by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
Christopher Ferguson, the owner of the now closed cosmetic piercing business and who earlier pleaded guilty, has been sentenced to a total of eight months in custody suspended for three years for two offences under Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.
Fines totalling £2,250 were also handed down for three offences under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 along with an order to pay £150 in legal costs, £84 in court costs and a £15 offender levy.
The offences under the Health and Safety at Work (N.I.) Order 1978 were as follows:
- Failure to ensure that he and other persons (not being employees) were not exposed to risks to their health and safety by carrying out the practice of skin piercing without adequate sterilisation
- Failure to comply with a Prohibition Notice by continuing to carry out the practice of skin piercing without adequate sterilisation.
The offences under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 were:
- Carrying out cosmetic piercing without being registered with Council
- Carrying out cosmetic piercing in a premises not registered with Council
- Failure to comply with Council Cosmetic Piercing Byelaws.
The court heard that Council Environmental Health Officers had visited and contacted the cosmetic piercing business owner numerous times from September 2016 and repeatedly advised of the registration requirements in relation to operating a cosmetic piercing business and the requirements of Council’s Cosmetic Piercing Byelaws. In the course of an investigation, the Council issued a Prohibition Notice prohibiting the practice of skin piercing taking place without adequate sterilisation however this was not complied with.
Despite visits from Environmental Health Officers and complaints from members of the public, the business continued to operate illegally. An unannounced visit was made to the premises by Environmental Health Officers and equipment connected with the business was removed thereby effecting immediate cessation of piercing activities at the premises.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding said: “Environmental Health Officers aim to protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of the public and employees against risks arising from work activities in premises for which Council is the enforcing authority. This is achieved by providing advice to businesses, carrying out inspections of premises, planned initiatives, the investigation of complaints, accident investigations and where necessary taking appropriate enforcement action.
“This prosecution sends a clear message that operating outside the law will not be tolerated by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council particularly when it poses a risk to the health and safety of customers and employees. Illegal body piercing can have serious health implications such as injuries and infections with blood borne viruses. Anyone running a body piercing business has a duty of care to their customers; must be registered with the council and have in place the necessary measures to do so safely. Anyone considering getting a piercing should check the premises and artist are properly registered.”