Sunbed salons fail on safety

Last updated 12:12 31/01/2014
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BAD PRACTICE: "One mystery shopper reported a notice which said the bed had new bulbs so reduce your time by 20 per cent – this isn't something a customer should be left to work out."

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Sunbed operators are ignoring their voluntary safety guidelines, with two-thirds failing a mystery shop survey.

Consumer NZ shoppers visited 60 sunbed operators in 12 centres, booking a session to do their assessments in the tanning cubicle without using the sunbeds.

Each session was evaluated against safety guidelines set out in the voluntary sunbed standard, including whether the customer was asked to fill out a consent form, whether a skill assessment was done and whether eye protection was provided.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said while the results were an improvement on the last survey in 2011, when only 17 per cent met all safety requirements, it was not good enough with some operators showing little concern for clients' safety.

"One mystery shopper was handed the keys and goggles, and sent to the cubicle to do it herself," Chetwin said.

"She said she could have stayed in there as long as she liked and nobody would have known."

Another problem was whether anyone checked if the sunbed units were correctly calibrated to deliver a controlled UV dose within safe limits.

"One mystery shopper reported a notice which said the bed had new bulbs so reduce your time by 20 per cent – this isn't something a customer should be left to work out."

A proposed amendment to the Health Act that will ban under-18s from using commercial sunbeds is expected to come into effect this year.

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