Safe Work Australia have released an updated version of the “Guide on exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR)” for workplaces in Australia.

As a PCBU you have a duty to provide information, training and instruction that is suitable to the nature and risks of the work and the controls being put in place to manage solar UVR exposure risks.

This updated Guide contains information on the:

  • risks of solar UVR exposure
  • the control measures which can be used to help eliminate or minimise, so far as is reasonably practicable, a worker’s exposure to solar UVR in the workplace and
  • guidance on how to implement a sun protection program at your workplace.

Workers at risk of skin cancer

Workers who spend all or part of the day working outdoors are at risk of skin cancer and adverse health effects to their eyes.

The risk of exposure to solar UVR may not be obvious for some workers, for example vehicle drivers like taxi, bus, truck, delivery and courier services. Certain workers like physical education teachers may be in and out of the sun during the day so exposure may be intermittent. The accumulated exposure creates a risk to their health and safety.

Workplace sun protection program

A workplace sun protection program can:

  • raise the profile of sun protection as a health and safety issue
  • improve knowledge and understanding of sun protection control measures
  • dispel common misconceptions about solar UVR and various sun protection control measures
  • help workers detect the early signs of skin cancer
  • improve sun protection behaviour of workers both ‘on’ and ‘off’ the job
  • raise workers’ awareness about your workplace sun protection program and policy, and
  • provide a forum for feedback from workers.

Information and training should cover:

  1. the harmful health effects of exposure to solar UVR
  2. factors affecting levels of solar UVR
  3. effective identification, application and use of sun protection control measures
  4. risk factors for skin cancer
  5. how to check for skin cancer and what to look for, and
  6. what to do if you find something that may be skin cancer

For more detailed information on how to implement a sun protection program at your workplace read SafeWork Australia’s recently updated Guide on exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR)