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Tuesday 3 February 2015

Crackdown makes Cheshire East’s sunbeds safer


A crackdown by Cheshire East Council has made the Borough’s sunbeds much safer for users.

In an initial round of inspections, only 32 out of 90 sunbeds (36 per cent) came up to European safety standards.

But when officers repeated the exercise, the number of sunbeds which passed the tests rose to 78 (87 per cent).

Officers from the Council’s regulatory services and health team visited 34 sunbed businesses between June and December 2014.

They used a solarmeter to test whether each sunbed was within the safe limit of 0.3 Watts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation per square metre (W/sq m).

The European safety standard was introduced because of increasing rates of skin cancer, mainly caused by exposure to UV radiation.

Businesses whose sunbeds emitted 0.6 W/sq m or more were ordered to switch them off until they had been re-tested and found to comply with the standard.

Those which committed less serious breaches were asked to take corrective action as soon as possible and warned that they would be inspected again. 

At the end of the project, 12 sunbeds in seven tanning salons failed to meet the standard because they were emitting between 0.31 and 0.59 W/sq m

The salon owners were warned that they could face enforcement action or be ‘named and shamed’ if they did not comply with the standards very soon.

Two businesses failed a test purchasing exercise by offering sunbed sessions to 15-year-olds, when the law says that users must be 18 or over. One of the businesses has since removed its sunbeds and the other has implemented a ‘Challenge 25’ policy.

A table showing the compliance status of the Borough’s sunbed businesses can be found here:

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for localism and enforcement, said: “This is a very worthwhile project which has given sunbed users greater protection from a known cancer risk.

“The cost was very low – a one-off £200 for new equipment plus officer time and mileage expenses – but it has resulted in a big improvement in safety standards.

“It is clear that there is a need for us to monitor and regulate sunbed businesses in Cheshire East in order to protect the public and we have stepped up to that task.”

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