Nail technicians can carry out a variety of different procedures, many of which involve 'skin penetration'. Because 'skin penetration' carries a risk of infection, the premises and procedures where skin penetration is conducted must comply with the Public Health Regulation, 2012.

Last updated: 22 March 2013

About this fact sheet

This fact sheet has been developed by NSW Health to assist nail technicians who carry out procedures that involve skin penetration (e.g. cuticle cutting, microdermasbrasion or razor scrapping) adopt good infection control practices. This will prevent the spread of disease as well as enable beauticians to meet the requirements of the Public Health Regulation, 2012.
Beauty treatment procedures that involve skin penetration can include hair removal (not laser hair removal), blackhead removal using a needle, micro-dermabrasion, cuticle cutting, razor scrapping, and cosmetic tattooing.
Procedures that involve skin penetration carry a greater risk of spreading disease because microorganisms (germs) can easily enter the body when the skin barrier is broken. Microorganisms that are present on dirty instruments which penetrate the skin have caused outbreaks of diseases such as hepatitis C and B.

Premises - registration, construction and materials

  • All nail technicians that carry out skin penetration procedures, must be registered with the local council. Notification forms are available from the NSW Health Public Health Legislation webpage at:
  • The construction of the premises should meet with local council requirements
  • The finish on all surfaces within the premises should be made of materials that are easily cleaned
  • The floor should be non-slip
  • Adequate lighting and good ventilation should be provided
  • Premises must be properly equipped with:
    1. A hand wash basin that has a supply of clean, warm, potable water. (The hand wash basin should be located in the treatment area)
    2. A separate sink that has a supply of clean, warm water for cleaning equipment. (A cleaning area should be provided and the dirty area(s) should be separated from the clean area)
    3. Liquid soap (or an alcohol based hand cleaner)
    4. Single-use towels or an automatic hand dryer
    5. Disposable gloves, clean linen and gowns or aprons that are appropriate for the skin procedures carried out at the premises
    6. A waste disposal bin


  • Any equipment at the premises must be in good working order, be cleaned and dried after use and be kept in a clean and dry condition
  • If reusable articles are sterilised on site, they must be sterilised at the premises using a bench-top steriliser that complies with AS 2182-1998 Sterilisers - Steam - Bench top. (There must be at least one person present at the time the steriliser is used who is adequately trained in the operation of the bench-top steriliser)
  • Sterilisation must be carried out in accordance with AS/NZS 4815:2006 Office-based health care facilities - Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment
  • Equipment must be thoroughly cleaned (i.e. via scrubbing, using an instrument washer, and/or ultra-sonic cleaner) before processing through a bench-top steriliser (see How to Sterilise your instruments and comply with the Public Health Regulation 2012 )
  • All instruments must be wrapped and packaged prior to processing through a bench-top steriliser. This will maintain sterility and permit aseptic removal of the contents of the pack at the time of use. An exception to this requirement is if items are used immediately after processing through a bench-top steriliser
  • The bench-top steriliser must have a print out facility to record the cycle parameters (i.e. temp, pressure, time), otherwise a Class 4, 5 or 6 chemical indicator must be placed in one instrument package (in every load) or there must be direct observation and recording of cycle parameters
  • Where on-site technical support is not available to achieve calibration or validation, a Class 5 or 6 indicator must be placed in every instrument package (in every load) or a process challenge device must be used in every load
  • Equipment that is difficult to clean and sterilise, should only be used once and then thrown away (single-use only)
  • If needles are used in any skin penetration procedure, they must be single use and disposed into an appropriate sharps container which complies with AS/NZS 4261:1994 Reusable containers for the collection of sharp items used in human and animal medical applications, or AS 4031 - 1992 Non-reusable containers for the collection of sharp medical items used in health care areas
  • Articles that are used in a skin penetration procedure but do not penetrate the skin must be thoroughly cleaned and kept in a clean condition
  • Towels or other types of linen used for covering or protection during the procedure must be clean at the start of each treatment. Linen should be washed in detergent and hot water

Hygiene procedures

  • The premises must be kept in a clean and hygienic condition at all times
  • Treatment areas such as benches should be cleaned between each client and/or a clean covering placed over the treatment surface
  • To prevent cross contamination, all liquids, and creams must be decanted into single use containers, and a single use applicator must be used for each person undergoing the procedure
  • If wax is used for hair removal, the wax and any instrument used to apply the wax (such as a spatula) must be immediately disposed after completing the procedure (no double dipping)
  • All waste should be bagged appropriately and disposed of daily
  • Sterile packaging should be opened just prior to starting the treatment
  • Sterile parts of the equipment that will penetrate the skin should not be handled. (If handling sterile equipment is necessary, a sterile insertion tube, a pre-packed sterile alcohol swab, a sterile dry swab, or sterile single use gloves should be used)

Personal hygiene for nail technicians

  • A clean gown or apron and single use gloves must be worn by the nail technician during a skin penetration procedure (does not apply to hair removal using wax unless there is potential for exposure to any human bodily substances during the procedure)
  • Hands should be washed i) before and after attending a client; ii) before and after a procedure; iii) after exposure to a body substance; iv) after touching a clients surroundings and v) after the removal of gloves
  • See Hand Hygiene Australia website for additional information on how to wash your hands
  • Cuts or wounds should be covered with a sealed waterproof bandage

Other requirements

  • Sterilisation records must be kept for 12 months showing (a) the time and date when each article was sterilised and (b) the length of time that the article was sterilised and the temperature and pressure levels of the bench-top steriliser
  • Clinical/biohazard waste (i.e. waste containing any blood or bodily fluids) must be disposed into a clinical waste bin and then collected by a licensed waste contractor (see your local council)

Fees and penalties for non-compliance

  • Failure to comply with the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation, 2012 can result in the issue of a penalty infringement notice. Penalties range from $110 - $1100 for an individual and $220 - $2200 for a corporation. Maximum penalties are higher for prosecutions and may include a daily penalty.
  • Administration fees ranging from $250 - $270 are charged if an improvement notice or prohibition order is required to be issued
  • Reinspection of the premises in relation to a prohibition order incurs a fee to the occupier of the premises of $250 per hour with a minimum charge of half an hour and a maximum charge of 2 hours (excluding time spent travelling)

Where to go for further information

 Contact your local council or public health unit

In NSW you can call 1300 066 055 to talk to your local Public Health Unit

Page Updated: Friday 22 March 2013