Infection Control

The Infection Control Unit at the Health Protection Service regulates all businesses in the ACT that perform skin penetration procedures.

The Infection Control Unit at the Health Protection Service (HPS) is responsible for regulating businesses in the ACT that perform skin penetration procedures. As part of the Communicable Disease Control (CDC) team, the Infection Control Unit also provides advice and assistance to long term residential care facilities, child care centres, schools and visiting tour groups in relation to the management of outbreaks of communicable disease in the ACT.

Complaints received from the community concerning hygiene standards at ACT business premises are investigated by Public Health Officers from the Infection Control Unit.

Businesses in the ACT that perform skin penetration procedures are required to be licensed and comply with the ACT Health Infection Control for office practices and other community-based services Code of Practice 2005 (the Code). Businesses are inspected regularly by Public Health Officers from the Infection Control Unit to check for compliance with the Code.

The ACT Health Infection Control Guidelines for office practices and other community-based services (the Guidelines) have been developed to assist businesses to comply with the Code (Infection Control Code of Practice). The Guidelines are based on the key principles of infection control.

For the purpose of the legislation a skin penetration procedure is defined as: any process involving the piercing, cutting, puncturing or tearing of a living human body but does not include the cutting, shaving or dyeing of a person’s hair, or closed ear piercing or the use of test equipment.

Businesses types requiring an Infection Control licence include:

  • Dental practices
  • Podiatry clinics
  • Acupuncture clinics
  • Skin clinics
  • Colonic irrigation clinics
  • Pathology collection centres
  • Dry needling practices (physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Beauty salons
  • Tattoo studios
  • Body piercing studios
  • Nail salons
  • Ear piercing businesses (excluding businesses that only pierce the lower lobe with an apparatus that uses sealed and pre-sterilised disposable fittings)
  • Mobile practitioners (providing services listed above. Please note that some business types may be restricted to premises-based).

Infection Control inspections

Routine infection control inspections and complaint-based inspections are performed by Public Health Officers. An inspection at a licensed premises may occur at any time without notice. The occupier of the business is entitled to ask any inspecting Public Health Officer to produce their identity card.
During an inspection, a Public Health Officer will assess the business against criteria outlined in the Code (
Infection Control Code of Practice). As part of the inspection, a Public Health Officer may:

  • Ask questions
  • Request reasonable assistance e.g. to access certain areas
  • Request and copy documents
  • Examine anything in or on the premises e.g. equipment, supplies
  • Take photographs
  • If necessary, seize items.

The Public Health Officer must not be obstructed in carrying out their inspection. It is an offence to interfere with a lawful inspection. After the inspection, a report will be sent to the business either by email or post.

If breaches of the Code are identified during the inspection, the business may be issued an Improvement Notice requiring the breaches to be fixed within a certain time. If critical breaches are found, the business may be issued with a Prohibition Notice and closed until it is deemed safe. Not complying with an Improvement Notice may also lead to a monetary penalty and/or a Prohibition Notice being issued and the business closed.

Infection Control inspection forms

An inspection form has been developed for each of the business types requiring an Infection Control Licence. These forms have been developed to assist Public Health Officers in delivering a consistent and transparent approach to infection control inspections. Links to these forms appear below. These forms are available to give businesses an idea of what Public Health Officers will look at during the inspection. Please note, the inspection forms are not intended to be used as educational/resource material for businesses.

Please follow the links below for Infection Control information and licence forms:

Page last updated on: 25 Oct 2018