Section Four – Operator Responsibilities

Under state and county health codes, tanning operators are required to successfully complete this training course in order to obtain an operator’s permit in Utah County. The facility owner is also required to have an operator’s permit, even if he or she does not work at the facility. This permit must be renewed every three years. As a tanning operator your primary responsibility to your customers is to help them achieve a tan while minimizing damage to their skin during any given tanning session.
Before a new customer can begin a tanning session, the operator must provide and obtain pertinent information, including:

1. Skin Type – The operator, or the customer with the operator’s assistance, must determine the customer’s natural skin type using an area of the skin that has not been exposed to the sun. This can range from Type 0 (reddish to very pale skin that burns easily) up to Type IV (dark brown skin that rarely if ever burns). This typing process is essential in setting the customer’s correct tanning bed time during his or her first visit. It also acts as a guide during following visits.

2. List of Potentially Photosensitive Medications, Cosmetics and Products – The operator must convey to the customer that many classes of medications, cosmetics and products may cause photoreactions. A reasonably representative list of these items must be available for review by the customer if the customer so desires. If a customer is in use of an item that has the potential for photoreaction, he or she should consult a physician before proceeding.

3. Tanning During Pregnancy – The operator must inform female customers that tanning during pregnancy is inadvisable (excessive heat and folic acid depletion can be harmful to the fetus). If a customer is pregnant she should consult a physician before beginning a tanning regime.

4. UV Exposure and Frequency of Tanning – The operator must make the customer aware of the potential harmful effects of overexposure to UV light including increased risk of skin cancer, increased risk of premature aging of the skin, and possible activation of viral conditions.

5. Eye Protection – The operator must inform the customer of the need to wear proper eye protection while tanning. Simply closing one’s eyes, wearing ordinary sunglasses, using cotton balls, or draping a towel over the eyes are not strong enough measures to protect the cornea and retina from UV light. The customer must have his or her own eye protection or the facility must provide eye protection which is properly sanitized by the operator after each use.              

6. Bed Labels – The operator must show and explain to the customer the skin type and corresponding maximum UV exposure time label posted on the tanning bed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works together with the bed manufacturer to ensure that the correct label is posted. Each bed is different, so the maximum tanning time based on skin type will vary from bed to bed. 

7. Customer and Operator Consent – Both the operator and the customer must sign a consent form acknowledging the dissemination and gathering of the above information. If the customer is a minor (younger than 18 years of age) that minor’s parent or guardian must also sign the form in the operator’s presence. Signatures on this consent form must be renewed annually.

An example of a tanning information and consent form available for use can be viewed HERE.

After tanning information has been given to and gathered from the customer, the operator must retain exclusive control over setting tanning bed times based on skin type. Setting or re-setting of bed times is not allowed by customers. Timing devices for all beds must be secured from customer access. On all subsequent sessions, customers must continue to check in with the operator and the operator must be present at all times during a customer’s tanning session.

Cleaning and sanitation of tanning rooms, beds, and all associated equipment should occur immediately after completion of a customer’s session. Body contact surfaces, towels, linens, and protective goggles shall be cleaned and sanitized using a chlorine- or ammonia-based solution. The operator should follow recommended concentrations and instructions printed on the product container. UV light emitted by the tanning bed is not considered to be a sanitizing agent and should not be used as a substitute for a sanitizing solution. All cleaning and sanitation must be performed by the operator prior to the next customer’s visit; however, a customer has the option to re-sanitize a bed or equipment if so desired.