Sunbed operator assessments

Since 2012, the New Zealand Ministry of Health has asked Public Health Units to visit commercial sunbed operators in New Zealand every six months to ensure that they are aware of the operating practices recommended in AS/NZS 2635:2008 Solaria for cosmetic purposes, and have materials and information available to help them follow these practices. This includes Ministry of Health Guidelines to assist operators in complying with the Standard. (This is currently a draft, pending the introduction of Regulations.)

In order to gauge the effectiveness of these visits, from 2013 to 2019 the visit in the first half of the year included an assessment of how well the operator complies with 11 aspects of sunbed operations covered by the Standard. All aspects cover procedural and administrative features of the operation (for example, getting the client to complete and sign a consent form, displaying warning signs and keeping client records). All operators should be able to comply with these. The same aspects of operation have been looked at on each of these assessment visits, allowing a year by year comparison to be made.   

The visits in the second half of the year did not include an assessment, but concentrated on trying to get the operators to comply with particular requirements of the Standard, or informing operators of forthcoming legislative changes and what they must do to comply with them.

Unfortunately Covid interrupted this pattern and operator visits in 2020 and 2021 were patchy, as public health staff focussed on the Covid response.  The report for the second half of 2021 summarises findings from the visits and other work that they were able to complete in this time.  It is hoped that the normal visit routines will restart once 

Overall, the assessments show a slow but steady improvement in compliance since the visits began. There was a marked improvement in Auckland following the introduction of a Health and Hygiene bylaw in 2014, which effectively made compliance with many aspects of the Standard compulsory.  (The assistance of the Auckland Council in supplying data from visits to operators made by their compliance staff is gratefully acknowledged.) There has also been a slow decrease in the numbers of operators. 

Findings from these surveys are available by clicking the links in the table below.