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Sunbed business guidance

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 regulates the use of sunbeds in commercial business premises. The aim of this webpage is to help operators of sunbed businesses to comply with the new law.

The Act applies to all commercial premises who offer sunbeds for use on the premises. The Act does not apply to you if the premises are used wholly or mainly as a private home.

Under the Act it is a requirement that no person under the age of 18 years:

  • Uses a sunbed
  • Is offered the use of a sunbed
  • Is present in a restricted zone

Use of a sunbed

The purpose of the Act is to prevent the use of sunbeds on commercial business premises by children and young people under 18 years. 'Use' in this context applies to actual physical use of the sunbed.

Offer of the use of a sunbed

The Act prohibits children and young people from being offered the opportunity to use a commercial, on-premises sunbed by the owner or manager of a sunbed business, or by any person on their behalf.

It does not matter whether the offer is in return for payment, or is complimentary (for example, as part of a membership package such as for a leisure or fitness club), or is part of the services included by a hotel or holiday camp.

Therefore, under 18s should have such complimentary facilities excluded from their membership package or from the services available to them.

Restricted zones

Under the Act it is a requirement that no person under the age of 18 years is present in a restricted zone:

Sunbed Restricted Zone 1 570px In this example the cubicle sunbed is a wholly or partly enclosed space within the canteen and is therefore a restricted zone. (Click image to enlarge).
Sunbed Restricted Zone 2 570px In this example the private room is an enclosed space reserved for users of that sunbed and so the whole of the private room and the cubicle-type sunbed inside it are a restricted zone. (Click image to enlarge).
Sunbed Restricted Zone 3 570px In this example the sunbed is not within a wholly or partly enclosed space but within a changing room so making the whole changing room a restricted zone. (Click image to enlarge).

Proof of age

Although not prescribed by the Act, the following documents could be used to check the age of the user:

  • Passport.
  • European Union photocard driving licence.
  • Photographic identity card bearing the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram.

Management controls to help prevent under 18s from using a sunbed

  • Display prominent and clear notices that no under 18s are permitted to use sunbeds or enter restricted zones.
  • Train staff and have written procedures on how to check the age of users, including the types of document that can be used to prove age.
  • Keep records of training given to staff.
  • Keep a written record of any incident (and outcome) where a member of staff has challenged a potential user about their age.
  • Maintain written records for each user for each session.
  • Have a system in place to check that under 18s have not entered the restricted zone.
  • Ensure when sunbed facilities are provided as part of a membership package, such as at a leisure centre or fitness club, that access to sunbeds is excluded from the membership package for under 18s.
  • Provide information on restricted services in brochures and service directories.
  • Train and advise staff who are under the age of 18 on the requirement not to use sunbeds (and explain that this is not affected by the fact that they can be present in a restricted zone).

In most cases, failure to comply with the Act is a criminal offence and there is a penalty of up to £20,000.

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