It’s been a while, but I’m starting to get calls from salon operators needing to know the UVB and UVA percentages of lamps for insurance purposes.
The spectral output of sunlamps does not, in and of itself, constitute the standard by which a given indoor tanning system should be judged. All sunlamps are different; but each one can perform only as well as the equipment in which it is installed. Factors such as the transmissive quality of the acrylic shield, the type of ballast, the distance of the lamp in relation to the tanner, the degree of reflectivity of the reflector system, and voltage supplied to the unit all play a role in the amount of output emitted by the sunlamps and its influence on the tanner’s skin. Thus, to say that a tanning lamp is either “good” or “bad” because it emits a certain spectrum of light is a very inaccurate and misleading way in which to judge its merits.
What is important in considering responsible tanning practices is the exposure schedule. Any indoor tanning unit manufactured after September 1986 must have imprinted on it the appropriate exposure schedule for certain skin types. The manufacturer of a given unit must designate the lamp type to be installed in it. The unit’s total UV output must then be measured by an independent laboratory, where its exposure schedule can then be determined according to the guidelines supplied by the Food and Drug Administration. This total output cannot exceed 4 MED (Minimal Erythemal Dose). These test results are then forwarded to the FDA where they are kept on file. The FDA, which regulates the indoor tanning industry, is not necessarily concerned with only the amounts of UVA and UVB emitted by a tanning lamp. They are concerned with the length of time that a person is exposed to known dose levels of ultraviolet light.
Chris Beshore, Vice President of Insurtec Tanning Insurance, contacted me with some additional comments on this subject. Beshore stated, “If your insurance agent is asking you the UVB and UVA percentages of your lamps, it would be fair to say that they don’t specialize in the tanning business. Those of us who specialize in tanning salon insurance know that this is an inaccurate and misleading method of evaluating a salon. Because of this, we have never evaluated tanning salons this way. As Cheri points out, exposure time is the important tanning practice to consider. This is why we require the operator to be in control at all times, typically through a central equipment timing device.”
Beshore continued, “One of the most important things is the training of the salon staff. Although training is not required in all states, we offer great discounts to salons that have participated in an accredited training program. Salons with staff that have been properly educated are much more likely to be operated in a professional manner. With proper training, salon operators can adjust exposure times to appropriate levels for each individual tanner. Also, any good tanning insurance company will inquire about eye protection, FDA compliance and client waiver forms. These are the important things, not UVA/UVB percentages.”
“When shopping for tanning insurance, keep the following in mind. First, it is important that the policy includes professional liability coverage,” says Beshore. “This is what protects you if you are sued because of the professional services, such as tanning, that you offer. General liability, which comes with any basic policy, will not cover tanning units or other services, which is why professional liability is so important. Also, make sure the company has experience and is involved in the tanning industry. Because this is a unique industry with unique claims, you need an insurance provider that understands how to administer those claims.”
Thanks to Chris Beshore of Insurtec Tanning Insurance for his input and comments concerning salon insurance coverage.
has been with Wolff System since 1998. Her duties include training salon professionals on sunlamp products. She specializes in breaking down technical info into layman terms, so her lamp training is both informative and FUN! Questions or comments? Email email@example.com or call 800.959.6533, X112.
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