The social desirability of a tanned appearance is now viewed by many as a fashion accessory. However, high levels of ultra violet radiation (UVR) from equipment can cause injuries and ill-health to staff or customers.
Associated health problems can be both short term (e.g. sunburn, conjunctivitis) and long term (e.g. skin cancer, premature skin aging and cataracts).
Sun beds have been re-classified as a carcinogen putting them into the same category as tobacco and asbestos. It has been proved that any use of a sunbed before the age of 35 dramatically increases the risk of the user getting skin cancer in later life, it is estimated that the risk of skin cancer increases by up to 20% for each decade the user uses a sunbed up to the age of 56.
As a result of this the UK Government has introduced legislation, The Sunbed (Regulation) Act 2010, this bans the use of sunbed for under 18's. However the Welsh Assembly Government wanted to go further, on the 31st of October 2011 they introduced The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 (Wales) Regulations 2011. This builds on the original Act by not only restricting under 18's from using sunbeds but to also:
- ban unmanned sunbeds by requiring a supervisor to be at the premises during all opening hours
- require all supervisors to be sufficiently competent.· Each user must be given prescribed health information before using the sunbed
- prescribed A3 posters must be put up in set locations within the premises detailing the health risks
- eye protection must be worn by users
- prohibits the use of any material including posters which claim sunbeds provide health benefits
This applies to all premises who have a sunbed, including those run from home. Failure to comply with this legislation could lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.