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Lifestyle :: Art/Leisure :: Safety & the Art of Tattoo :: Hawaii Tattoo Regulations

Hawaii Tattoo Regulations

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*** Based on 2 member reviews

We have the privilege of working in a state that was a forerunner in the regulation of tattooing in the United States.  Some might ask why we need regulations. As I have said before, tattooing is a body invasive procedure with exposure to blood borne pathogens that not only can cause disease, but death. Our Health Department recognized that potential in 1981 and established our first set of regulations. While no regulations are perfect, our system establishes standards that all studios should be following. To a well trained tattooer, these regulations are standard operating procedures. Following them protects not only the client but the tattooer as well. In 2009 our regulations were updated along with the tattoo license exam to reflect the changing health atmosphere of today.

A few of the key points of our regulations are:

  • Tattooing is only allowed in an inspected, licensed facility and performed by Hawaii state licensed tattooers.
  • Studios are inspected yearly for proper equipment, flooring, plumbing and layout.
  • Tattooers are initially given a written test on blood borne pathogens, procedures and regulations and after passing that test are required to renew every two years.
  • Out of state licenses are not recognized by our DOH and are not transferrable to Hawaii.

Tattooing without a license or outside of an inspected facility can result in a $5000 fine PER incident. Five illegal tattoos could equal a $25K fine—ouch! Note the letter sent out to all studios from our Department of Health: 

 Image of Notice To Tattoo Establishments

Our state’s guidelines for tattooing are basic in comparison to other areas. Many states and counties have much more extreme regulations and fees. Oklahoma charges $500 per individual license per year and $1000 per studio per year. Some states do not allow apprenticeships unless under the instruction of qualified teachers—that qualification is dictated by strict criteria such as proof of education and prior training in the field. In Hawaii we have a set of regulations that are livable, fair and timely. The update in 2009 and the revamping of the tattooer exam have given our state a common-sense approach to this industry.

In choosing a tattooer it is important to ask how they are educated, properly trained and licensed by the State of Hawaii. Ask hard questions. Where were they trained and by whom? What type of sterilization do they use? Autoclaving is the ONLY way if they aren’t using pre-sterilized needles and disposable tubes. Ask to see the autoclave and ask if it is monitored for performance by an outside agency. Look for the tattooer’s license and the shop inspection certificate. Take a hard look at their portfolios. The work you receive will be with you for life. Is it what you want to see there every day?

Again, tattooing is a body invasive procedure that exposes all involved to possible transmission of serious blood-borne pathogens. It is not an activity for a kitchen table, a garage or the spare bedroom. Quality tattooers who respect the trade and respect their clients work in controlled environments… licensed and inspected studios. Taking the cheap route of having a buddy try out his new ‘gun’ and other tools he bought off EBay or Heaven forbid at the mall is like Russian Roulette—is the ‘gun’ loaded or not? Does he understand about Hepatitis and its shelf life? Does he understand about the difference between disinfectants and antiseptics? Would you trust your home to a pal who bought a few things at the hardware store and is now going to rewire your home? So why trust your health and your life to an experiment?

Please, think before you ink. Regulations are in place to protect the public and the tattooer. Respect your body and your health by keepin’ it safe and abiding by them!

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blxtraining — Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The State of Hawaii Department of Health will no longer be conducting tattoo artist license examinations effective January 19, 2013. Hawaii Revised Statutes Section ยง321-375 Examination, fee required. States that: a) No license shall be issued unless the applicant takes an examination as prescribed by the director and receives a passing score or meets the criteria specified in section 321-374(c). No license shall be issued unless all fees required by the director have been paid. b) The department may contract with a professional testing service to prepare, administer, and grade the examination for licensure as a tattoo artist. For these purposes, the department may require applicants to pay the examination fee directly to the testing service. In order to obtain a State of Hawaii Tattoo Artist License, you must Obtain a certificate from a blood borne pathogen course developed specifically for the tattoo industry. Biologix Solutions LLC is the Hawaii Department of Health Approved Online Bloodborne Pathogens Course for Body Art Professionals. Course Signup:

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psucher — Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Yes as of January Hawaii has fallen behind in it's testing of tattooers to a simple online course. Those of us who have passed the in-state course are concerned at the security of an online course and we welcome blxtraining and the three other testing sources to explain how they ensure proper testing of the individual who is seeking a license.

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blxtraining — Friday, February 22, 2013
Our system has been tested over and over by 30+ licensing agencies across the United States and have efficiently delivered online education courses for healthcare and non-healthcare professionals. Our Online Learning Management System collects realtime course data and time spent on the course. All students are required to take a post-test, which is graded in real-time with test score available to artists immediately. If they pass the test, their score is sent automatically in our system for verification before issuing course completion certificate. Our Infectious Disease Specialists is available on-call to answer questions to ensure that artists has unrestricted access all the time, while they are taking the test. We are always open to welcome new ideas and suggestions to improve our course offering system. Biologix Solutions LLC

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blxtraining — Friday, February 22, 2013
Also, Hawaii Department of Health has full access to us to verify student's data (detail information student's course activity) to ensure that artists submitting completion documents with their application for license has sucessfully completed required course with minimum passing score.


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