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It's 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.

Several scientific reports show a clear link between the increased use of sunbeds and increased risk of skin cancerAs a result, legislation now prevents under 18s from using sunbeds.

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.

Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer, both skin cancer (melanoma) and skin cancer (non-melanoma). Many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV rays than the midday tropical sun.

The risks are greater for young people. Evidence shows:

  • People who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk of developing skin cancer later in life
  • Sunburn in childhood can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life

What do I need to know?

It is an offence for sunbed business operators to allow under 18s 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 18s 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 18s 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 a business demonstrate compliance?

  • 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 18s – 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 18s can use the sunbed and that they are not permitted in the restricted zones
  • Have a system in place to check that no under 18s have entered the restricted zone
  • Where applicable, exclude sunbed use on under 18s membership package in leisure or fitness clubs
  • Train staff that are under the age of 18 that they cannot use the sunbeds, but they can be present in the restricted zone

Contact Us

Telephone: 0300 555 2345

Environmental Safety and Health
4 Ednam Road

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8.45am to 5pm
Offices are closed weekends and Bank Holidays