Tips for Tattoo Parlours: How Tattoos Can Hurt Their Artist

Sep 2021

One of the broker’s responsibilities is offering sound professional advice to help professionals minimize risk at work or in operation. In the long run, tattoo artists who follow this advice will reap the benefits in their health and their reputation.


Tattoo parlours are opening up shop to a flood of client bookings as COVID-related restrictions lift. Whether as a way to commemorate their time during the pandemic or simply due to the long wait for non-essential businesses to reopen, tattoo parlours are seeing an increase in clients looking to get ink. (1)


With new work on the horizon, tattoo artists may want to revisit some often-overlooked health and safety procedures that could help them mitigate business risks and remain industry leaders.


When Getting a Tattoo Hurts the Artist, Too


Researchers at the Ohio State University study decided to study the muscle activity of 10 local tattoo artists to determine their risk for musculoskeletal pain and injury from their work.


It was the only known study of its kind. In the study, the tattoo artists wore electrodes researchers used to track their muscle activity as they worked. Over a one- to three-hour tattooing session, 15 seconds of data were collected every three minutes by the electrodes. Every five minutes, the researchers also assessed each artist’s posture using a standardized observational assessment tool and photographed each observation.


The results? All 10 tattoo artists studied exceeded the recommended exertion limits in at least one muscle group by up to 25%, making them more likely to suffer injury. One notable finding was that their trapezius muscles were strained, a common source of neck/shoulder pain. (2)


Hidden Hazards at Work


In general, tattoo artists work independently as contractors, not as salaried employees, and shop owners may pay them between 40 to 60 percent of their overall sales commission. In addition, there is no formal licensing or educational standard for tattoo artists in Canada. So, in the event of an injury, they are less protected and compensated.


The physical hazards of tattoo artists have been compared to those of dentists and dental hygienists. Both professions involve prolonged periods of sitting in strained positions. However, tattoo artists differ from those in the dental industry in that there is no national organization to set ergonomic guidelines for avoiding injury.


In addition to long sitting sessions, tattoo artists are often in uncomfortable positions, putting their bodies at risk of pain. Tattoo sessions can last up to eight hours each.


6 Research-Based Tips to Help Tattoo Artists Work More Comfortably


According to researchers at the Ohio State University, one of the main problems is the lack of specialized seating to support both the artist and the client. Researchers suggest the following solutions tattoo artists can employ to help avoid injury:

● Experiment with different types of chairs

● Provide back and arm support

● Change positions frequently while working

● Take more frequent breaks

● Use a mounted magnifying glass instead of leaning in to see their work

● Ensure both the client and the tattoo artist are in a comfortable position before the tattoo is performed.

Tattooing has become a $3 billion industry worldwide, with 38% of Canadians sporting at least one tattoo.


Is Bad Posture a Risk Factor for Workplace Accidents?


There’s no doubt that tattoos and other body modifications involve a level of risk. Despite how seasoned a tattoo artist might be, there is always the risk that accidental injuries could occur during the application process.


When working in settings where bodily injury, such as slips and falls, can occur, a tattoo parlour could be held liable for any mishaps or injuries caused by its guest artists, independent contractors, or work done at events. When a tattoo artist has developed musculoskeletal pain or injuries on the job, a slip and fall could cause even greater harm.


By looking out for their clients in this way, brokers are not only reducing the risk or severity of injury, but are also potentially saving their clients money in lost business as a result of injury in the long run. Another way to save clients thousands of dollars in legal fees in the event of a lawsuit is by going with a specialist MGA.


SWG PL: Tattoos & Body Piercing/Beauty Operations


SWG PL – Tattoo & Body Piercing/Beauty Operations Liability insurance is offered Canada-wide as a combined E&O and CGL insurance coverage for Tattoo, Body Piercing, Permanent-Makeup Artists, as well as Beauty Salon Operations.


Coverage Highlights

● Limit up to $3,000,000

● Coverage for entire shop(s), individual artist(s), and/or Independent Contractors

● Coverage available for tattooing or piercing of minors – with options to include piercing of ears, nose, navel, eyebrows, and tongue

● Coverage for Dermal Anchoring, Surface Piercing, Ampallang and Apadravya

● Competitive premiums

● NIL deductible

● Home-based business when it’s in line with the law and government regulation

● Commission to broker 15%

We Cover:

Includes but is not limited to the list below. Contact us if you don’t see what you are looking for.

● Tattoo (permanent or temporary including henna)

● Body Piercing

● Permanent makeup including Microblading

● Pigment Lightening Removal (Saline or Laser/IPL)

● Beauty Professionals

● Laser Hair Removal, also includes removal of age spots, sun spots & liver spots

● Claims Made Policy

For more information, visit our product page at


Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.