If you’re opening a tanning salon, it’s important to familiarise yourself with tanning salon safety laws. It’s your responsibility to ensure your salon complies with relevant regulations and sunbed use guidelines. Not only is this important for legal reasons, but it also helps to protect your staff and customers.
In this article, we’ll explain UK health and safety regulations regarding the use of sunbeds. We’ll also discuss how tanning salon software can help you stay compliant.
What Is the Legal Age for Sunbed Use (UK)?
According to the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010, it is illegal for under-18s to use UV sunbeds. This means that, as a tanning salon owner, you must ensure that nobody under the age of 18:
- Uses a sunbed
- Is offered the use of a sunbed
- Is present in a ‘restricted zone’ (any room or space, wholly or partly enclosed, in which a sunbed is located)
Failure to comply with these sunbed regulations could result in a fine of up to £20,000. So, you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that every customer is over the age limit.
For example, ask new clients for photographic ID and train staff in recognising fraudulent documents. You can also use software such as ActiveSalon to check the customer’s date of birth when booking online.
What Other Sunbed Regulations Are There?
Besides age restrictions, there are a number of additional sunbed laws and regulations that you must follow. These primarily fall under British Standards, the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).
Safe Limits for UV Irradiation
In the UK, there is a legal limit on the maximum amount of UV radiation that sunbeds can emit (British Standards 60335-2-27).
Your tanning beds must not exceed a solar irradiance level of 0.3 watts per square metre. This is equivalent to the midday Mediterranean summer sun. Any output above this carries an increased risk of burning and is deemed unsafe.
Managing Sunbed Health and Safety Risks
As a sunbed operator, you must carry out a risk assessment on your equipment – namely, the risks of UV exposure. This involves:
- Identifying who may be harmed and how (both short- and long-term effects)
- Recording your findings (if you have 5 or more employees)
- Informing staff of the results of the risk assessment
You’re obligated to take measures to control these risks ‘as far as is reasonably practicable’. For example, ensure customers wear eye protection while using the beds. You should also advise clients on safe levels of UV exposure according to their skin type.
We recommend having each client sign a legal disclaimer acknowledging and consenting to any potential health risks. You can store and view signed disclaimers digitally using tanning salon software.
Local Authority Legislation
There’s no legal requirement in the UK for tanning salons to be licensed. However, some local authorities may introduce licensing, restrict how your business operates or mandate regular inspections.
This will vary depending on where your business is located. For example, in Wales, sunbeds must be supervised by a ‘competent person’ at all times. Find your local council for more details.
Is There Voluntary Guidance for Tanning Salons?
Beyond UK tanning salon safety laws, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published voluntary guidance for tanning salons. You should:
- Have trained staff present while customers are using your equipment
- Provide ongoing health and safety training for your staff, and keep training records
- Have effective procedures in place to provide immediate assistance to clients using sunbeds
- Set up screens between sunbeds used in the same room
- Clean and sanitise all equipment between sessions
- Provide eye protection (goggles) for customers and staff
- Reassess exposure requirements after replacing UV tubes
While these protocols are not mandatory, they will help you to provide a safe, professional service. We also recommend registering with the Sunbed Association and following their code of best practice.
Sunbed Safety Guidelines for Users
The HSE also offers sunbed usage guidelines for tanning salon customers. They recommend that individuals should not use sunbeds if they:
- Have fair skin that burns easily (Fitzpatrick skin type I or II)
- Were sunburned in the past, particularly in childhood
- Have a family history of skin cancer
- Have many freckles and/or moles
- Have a medical condition that is worsened with sunlight
- Are taking medication that increases photosensitivity
- Have existing skin damage due to UV exposure
You should ask for this information in your new client forms and warn against tanning if these criteria apply.
How Can ActiveSalon Help You Stay Compliant?
ActiveSalon is the UK’s leading software designed specifically for tanning salons. Stay compliant with the help of built-in tanning industry guidelines and safety policies.
Our intelligent system will cross-reference each client’s date of birth to ensure they’re over 18 before making a booking. ActiveSalon’s skin-typing and appointment history features allow you to thoroughly assess each customer’s personal risk and prevent over-tanning. Store and access your clients’ signed disclaimers using our secure, cloud-based customer database.
Loukas has been a part of the tanning industry since 2013; what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing! As a Director of SolarTrack Systems, his responsibilities don’t just include ActiveSalon, but a variety of different tools and packages.