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Sunbed safety

It against the law for under 18s to use a sunbed in a business premises. Using a sunbed also increases your risk of getting skin cancer.

What are the risks associated with sunbeds?

Cases of skin cancer are still rising.  The main cause is due to over-exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays either from natural sunlight or from artificial rays from sunbeds or sunlamps.

In 2007 there were over 84,500 cases of non-melanoma in the UK, most of which would be treatable.  Over the same period there were 10,670 cases of malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma is the more dangerous form of skin cancer as it can spread to other organs of the body.  It is the second most common cancer in 15-24 year olds in the UK.

Why aren't under 18's allowed to use a sunbed?

Several scientific reports (see further information below) have shown a clear link between the increased use of sunbeds and increased risk of skin cancer.  Strong recommendations were made regarding prohibiting the use of sunbeds to under 18’s and legislation now prevents under 18’s from using sunbeds.

What do I need to know?

  • It is an offence for sunbed business operators to allow under 18’s to use a sunbed or be offered the use of a sunbed. Use refers to the actual physical use of the sunbed.  ‘Offer for use’ includes offering the opportunity for under 18’s to use the sunbed, or to make the sunbed available. Payment does not have to be required.

 

  • It is an offence for an under 18 to be present in a restricted zone. A restricted zone is the area which is reserved for the users of the sunbed, which can be wholly or partly enclosed. Examples of this would be a private room where the sunbed is located, a changing cubicle, or booth.

There is an exemption for entry into a restricted zone, which allows under 18’s to enter providing it is for the purpose of providing a service which relates to the sunbed business.  For example, a member of staff, work experience student or contractor.  However they are not allowed to use the sunbed.

How can businesses demonstrate compliance?

Examples of suggested management controls are below

  • Train staff on how to check ages of clients including acceptable types of ID (suggested ID includes passport, photocard driving licence or a card that bears the PASS logo (Proof of Age Standard Scheme))

  • Have procedures in place for dealing with under 18’s – train staff and keep a record of this

  • Record any incident and outcome where age is challenged

  • Maintain records for each client regarding sessions

  • Use till prompts for sunbed transactions (if available)

  • Display clear signs that no under 18’s can use the sunbed and that they are not permitted in the restricted zones

  • Have a system in place to check that no under 18’s have entered the restricted zone

  • Where applicable, exclude sunbed use on under 18’s membership package in leisure or fitness clubs

  • Train staff that are under the age of 18 that they can not use the sunbeds, but they can be present in the restricted zone.

Where can I get further information?

Background information on the Sunbed (Regulation) Act 2010:

and you can also contact us.

Contact Details

  • Name Environmental Safety and Health
  • Address Directorate of the Urban Environment, 4 Ednam Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 1HL
  • Telephone 0300 555 2345