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Any exposure to UV radiation from tanning equipment is potentially harmful.

Advice to businesses

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2012

The legislation which came into effect on 8th April 2011 requires that a sunbed business must:-

  • Prevent the use of sunbeds to under 18’s,
  • Ensure that no offer is made to under 18’s of the use of a sunbed and;
  • Prevent access to under 18’s to restricted zones (restricted zone is a space/room, wholly or partly enclosed where a sunbed is located.

The law requires that a sunbed business takes all reasonable precautions and exercises all due diligence to prevent the use of a sunbed within their premise by anyone under the age of 18.

Failure to ensure compliance with the new legislation could result in an offence being committed and the sunbed business will be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £20,000.

Further guidance on the Sunbed (Regulation) Act 2010 can be found on the Department of Health website.

In addition to the above legal requirements under the Health and Safety at Work etc 1974 (HASWA) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) a UV tanning equipment operator must undertake the following:-

  • Assess the risks caused by your work activity including those from exposure to UV radiation;

  • Take measures to control as far as is reasonably practicable, the risks;

  • Inform staff of the results of the risk assessment process and make sure that staff have been provided with suitable training and are competent in the operation and use of any tanning equipment; and

  • If you have five or more employees that the risk assessment is suitably recorded.

Client Record Card

It is strongly recommended and very good practice for operators to ensure clients are fully informed and screened before allowing the use of the tanning machines. Downloadable below is a sample client record card, which includes safety information the clients should be given and a health questionnaire covering issues which may be affected by exposure to UV radiation, including skin type. The client record system should include details of the age of the client to help ensure compliance with an age restriction in the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010.

Staff training

It is also recommended that training of the staff should be documented and should include:

  • Awareness of short term and long term health risks from too much exposure to UV tanning equipment

  • Precautions to follow

  • Importance of eye protection

  • Understanding of the equipment and how to assess the number and duration of tanning sessions to reduce health risks to a minimum.

Equipment maintenance

It is important that all UV tanning equipment be suitably maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ guidance. It is important that these are checked by a competent person and that suitable system are in place with respect changing of UV tubes on the equipment. The replacement tubes should be checked to ensure that they are suitable for the equipment in question and that where different wattage of UV is to be used, that you provide this information to the clients and that adjustments are made for the increase in strength with respect the time clients are using the equipment.

Advice to the public

Advice about sunbeds is available on the Cancer Research UK website.