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Although not immediately evident in this year’s wet summer, Australia still has some of the highest levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the world. Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun is the major cause of skin cancer.
Research shows that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times more UV exposure than indoor workers each year and around 200 melanomas and 34,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are caused from occupational exposures each year.
SunSmart recommends that all workplaces develop a comprehensive UV protection program to protect workers from UV overexposure.
SunSmart manager Sue Heward said: “A comprehensive UV protection program should include measures that reduce the UV exposure of workers such as the rescheduling of outdoor jobs undercover or early in the morning and late afternoon. We know that this is not always practical and possible so a UV program should also include sharing outdoor tasks, making use of shade and the provision of personal protective clothing- long sleeved, collared shirts, broad brimmed hats, sunglasses; along with regularly applying SPF 30+ sunscreen on the remaining skin that is still exposed.”
Workplaces can access a free SunSmart UV Alert widget from sunsmart.com.au and add it to their website homepage. The widget shows the daily weather, temperature, daily sun protection times and UV level specific to the site’s location. A free SunSmart app for smartphones is also available providing the same functions.
Ms Heward emphasised that through a combination of policy, education and workplace resources, the risk of skin cancer in the workplace can be substantially reduced.
For further information, visit http://www.sunsmart.com.au/.