Don’t get burned over sunbeds

With the warm weather and holiday season upon us, you might find yourself tempted to top up your tan before you hit the beach, writes trading standards officer James McCluskey.

As we can’t always rely on the British weather to provide the sun – despite the recent heatwave – some of us turn to alternatives to get that summer glow. While some prefer their tans to come out of a bottle, others prefer to use a sunbed, and a number of dedicated tanning shops operate throughout North Yorkshire.

Sunbeds must be safe for consumers to use, and there are standards specifying safe limits of UV irradiance, which represent the intensity of the midday sun in the Mediterranean summer, and the maximum amount that humans have biologically evolved to cope with.

Be on the lookout for sunbed providers who use phrases such as “extra hot”, as this might indicate non-compliant or unsafe tubes.

The inside of a sunbed

One sunbed provider who failed to take proper safety measures is now feeling the heat following a joint investigation by North Yorkshire and Hartlepool Trading Standards. Graeme Trevor Carlton, of Golden Brown Sunbeds in Hartlepool, supplied a North Yorkshire resident with a vertical sunbed to use in their home. Instead of getting a convenient at-home tan, the consumer discovered that the sunbed was rusty, filthy and its hinges held together with a nail. An electrical assessment by an expert showed that the bed was unsafe. Following a lengthy investigation, Carlton appeared in court this month, where he admitted six offences relating to the supply of dangerous sunbeds to the public.

You can report any concerns about sunbeds, or any other consumer matter, to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.