Shropshire Council

Sunbeds and tanning salons


The following note has been produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to assist owners and operators of solaria and sun bed equipment to understand the risks associated with the use of such equipment and what is needed to meet legal requirements.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, a risk assessment must be carried out of the business's activities and premises.  Any risk to health and safety must be identified, and measures taken to reduce the risks as far as is reasonably practicable.  Where a business employs five or more persons employees must record the significant findings of their risk assessment, although it is useful to keep a written record of what you have done even if you employ fewer than five persons.
The HSE guidance document "Controlling health risks from the use of Ultra Violet (UV) tanning equipment, INDG 209" contains valuable information on how you can minimise health risks, and can be found online (see link on this page).
This document advises that you should be able to answer the following questions:

What are the nature and extent of UV hazards?

  • Do you know which risks are associated with the use of UV tanning equipment?
  • Has the equipment supplier given you information on the extent and magnitude of the hazard?
  • From this information do you know how to decide what advice to give an individual on the:
  • Duration of each tanning session
  • Periods between each session
  • Total number of sessions per year

The HSE publication "Controlling health risks from the use of Ultra Violet (UV) tanning equipment" can be used in conjunction with supplier information as a staff-training tool.

Client information and recording sessions

It is strongly recommended that all clients provide relevant details of their medical history to staff before being allowed to use sun bed equipment.  This will help staff to identify whether clients are taking medication or have any health issues which be affected by exposure to ultra violet radiation (UVR).
Also, the number of sessions each customer takes should be recorded so that usage can be monitored.

Customer information

Safety information from the manufacturers should be clearly displayed for customers to read.  In addition, the customer information from the HSE publication "Controlling health risks from the use of Ultra Violet (UV) tanning equipment" should also be displayed. 

Equipment cleaning

Equipment surfaces that come in contact with the users (including goggles) should be cleaned immediately after use with the cleaning fluid specified by the manufacturer.  Reusable goggles, which are worn, must be cleaned and sanitised after every use as conditions such as conjunctivitis can be spread from one customer to another.


When tubes are replaced they can be stronger than the old ones, and there is a risk of burning some customers.  The session's times should be reduced.  Follow instructions or seek advice from the supplier.

Staff training

It is recommended that the content of staff training is documented and should include:

  • Awareness of short term and long term health risks from too much exposure to UV tanning equipment
  • Precautions to follow
  • Importance of eye protection
  • Understanding of the equipment and how to assess duration of each tanning session

Additional information

You may also wish to consult a trade association such as The Sunbed Association, Chess House, 105 High Street, Chesham, Buckinghamshire HP5 1DE. A link to the association's website is provided on this page.