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Sunbed business or shop
Regulation and law relating to a sunbed businesses or shop

The provision of sunbed services is regulated by legislation which differs in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. However, throughout the UK it is forbidden to allow a person under 18 use of a sunbed.

Legaleze comment: it is important to maintain an ID checking system to stop under 18s using a sunbed, including keeping a record of any refusals. If ever an under 18 is admitted inadvertently and the operator is charged with an offence, he will have a "due diligence" defence if he can show there was a proper system of checking age place, with clear instructions to staff, record keeping etc..
An operator should maintain good record keeping to ensure customers' personal details are kept up to date including tolerance to rays, number. and frequency of visits length of exposure etc. Customers should be asked to sign user agreements acknowledging they have read and understood instructions and accept waiver of liability to extent permitted by law.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 regulates sunbed businesses. A “sunbed” means an electrically-powered device designed to produce tanning of the human skin by the emission of ultra-violet radiation. A “sunbed business” is a business that involves making one or more sunbeds available for use on premises that are occupied by, or are to any extent under the management or control of, the person who carries on the business.

A sunbed business must not allow persons under 18 to use a sunbed or to be in a “controlled zone”. Failure to do so is an offence. However it is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to show that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing it (a "due diligence" defence).

The 2010 Act empowers the government to make regulations affecting other aspects of a sunbed business, e.g. as to information to be given to customers, protective eye wear etc. No regulations have been made in England. In Wales such regulations have been made (see Wales below).

Northern Ireland
The Sunbeds Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 regulates sunbed businesses in similar terms to the legislation in England and Wales.

Regarding the due diligence defence for allowing a child the use of a sunbed, a passport or European photocard driving licence are sufficient ID.

The legislation is more extensive in that sunbed premises must be supervised, eye protection must be provided and certain information must be given (see the Sunbeds (Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012).

Operators of sunbed premises must comply with the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008 and the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008 (Sunbed) Regulations 2009.

The regulations specify that ID in relation to proving age must be a passport, the European photocard driving licence or an ID document issued by PASSCO.

Otherwise the requirements are similar to those in Northern Ireland except that eye protection is not specified (even if essential in practice).

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 applies to Wales as well as England. However in Wales, regulations have been made in similar terms to the legislation in Northern Ireland (see the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 (Wales) Regulations 2011).

[Page updated: 11/07/2012]

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