Eight Tanning Bed Owners that Didn’t Pay Their Fees

Proposed legislation in 2011 could strengthen regulation, increase fees
March 10, 2010 -- State regulators that oversee tanning salons plan to ask the Oregon legislature next year to increase fees and enhance their enforcement tools.
Fees could go from $100 to $120 each year per tanning device while enforcement could mean court injunctions and impounding devices when owners don’t comply with regulations.
Right now, eight tanning facilities throughout the state have final orders to pay civil penalties that range up to $3,900 for non-payment of 2009 registration fees. If the new law passes, the Office of Environmental Public Health would have greater authority to compel compliance for these and other violations.
The radiation protection section within the Office already has this authority for other radiological devices such as x-ray machines and CT scanners. And they believe to have that authority for tanning devices, but it’s not as clear.
“We think, and our attorney (at the Department of Justice) thinks, that we do have that authority now, but it’s frankly not very clear,” said Gail Shibley, administrator of the Office of Environmental Public Health. “We want to be make it very plain and clear.”
Shibley said the shift would be to simply copy legislative language from the statute governing all other radiological devices (ORS 453) to the one covering tanning salons (ORS 431), which the legislature put in a separate more convoluted statute.
While regulators are not exactly seeing a rash of delinquent tanning bed owners, they do say situations often arise where having at least the threat of serious enforcement could help.
“We need to be able to have the right form of enforcement tools depending on the chronic non-compliance we’re seeing,” Shibley said.
No association represents tanning bed owners in Oregon. An owner of a tanning salon who serves on a technical advisory committee did not respond to a request for comment.
State regulators in the tanning program conduct about 250 inspections statewide per year, out of which arise roughly 1,000 citations for anything from unclean conditions to using the wrong bulb that burns too hot. Owners have 30 days to correct the problem. Most often, they do.
In a recent case where inspectors found devices at one facility did not have functional timers, regulators compelled the owners to take those devices out of service. With the new law, they wouldn’t have to get owners to necessarily agree.
“If they have an issue that’s really critical, like a timing device failing, then they need to shut the machine down,” said Terry Lindsley, manager of the radiation protection section. “We want to have clear regulatory language to take them out of service.”
Another critical issue is having trained operators. For every four tanning devices, salons must have at least one formally trained operator who can then informally train other operators. “There are some facilities that are chronically non-compliant,” said David Howe, operations manager.
For those who frequent tanning salons in Oregon, there’s little way of knowing whether the owners ever faced violations. Any enforcement action the section takes is public record, but there’s no way of looking it up on-line.
“Very honestly, this is an issue we’re working on in a couple of different programs in this office,” Shibley said. “In drinking water, if you know the name of your drinking water system you can look up any noncompliance hits in our database. We’re also working on that in food and some pool facilities and it’s also in the works for tanning facilities as well.”
For more information about licensing and inspections by the tanning program click here.


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