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On 1 May 2012 the Sunbeds Act (NI) 2011 was introduced to protect sunbed users as there is growing evidence that there are health risks associated with sunbed use, including skin cancer, with young people at particular risk.
Sunbeds have become increasingly popular since the 1990s. Modern sunbeds work by exposing the user to UV radiation which can be the equivalent of Mediterranean sunlight at midday in August.

A sunbed operator must not: 

  • sell a sunbed session to anyone under 18
  • sell or hire a sunbed to anyone under 18
  • allow a person under 18 to access the restricted zone which contains the sunbed(s)
  • display information making health claims in relation to the use of sunbeds

The sunbed operator must also: 

  • ensure the business is supervised at all times
  • provide every customer with the yellow A4 leaflet on the risks of using sunbeds
  • display the yellow A3 public information notice on the risks of using sunbeds
  • make sure that eye protection is provided to all customers

Failure to comply with the legal requirements will result in a fixed penalty notice or notices being issued. A fixed penalty notice of £250 is applicable for each offence except for displaying or providing information which claims a health benefit of sunbed use, which is a fixed penalty notice of £50. Failure to pay a fixed penalty may result in prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.

For more information and guidance on the requirements of the Sunbed Act speak to a member of our Health and Safety Team on 028 9027 0428. 

Risk assessment

A sample risk assessment has been provided specifically for sunbed businesses to assist employers and self-employed persons in carrying out a risk assessment or reviewing an existing assessment for their premises. You can request a copy of this sample risk assessment by contacting a member of our Health and Safety Team on 028 9027 0428 or by emailing

You can download an electronic version of the Health and Safety Executive’s blank risk assessment template from its website

Further guidance, additional information leaflets and public notices can be found on the Department of Health’s website. These are available in both English and Polish. 

Taking care of your skin in the sun

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Northern Ireland and even though we don't have sun on a regular basis it's important to protect our skin. For more information visit the care in the sun website.


Contact us
Environmental health
028 9027 0428
Health and Safety
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street