As the major cause of skin cancer in Australia, UV radiation is a workplace hazard.
It’s important to assess whether your business has acceptable levels of UV exposure as a health and safety risk, to ensure your duty of care to employees.
The Cancer Council Australia recommends a UV radiation risk assessment considers:
- Location of the work completed
- Time – both time of day and time of year when work is completed
- Time exposure – pattern and length of working with exposure
- Controls – current use and availability
- Presence of reflective surfaces, artificial sources of UVR or photosensitising substances
- Vehicle usage
Research identified construction workers, tradesmen, farmers and professional drivers as most at risk of skin cancer. If you are concerned your workplace is exposed to high levels of UV radiation, a risk assessment should be conducted to identify sun protection control measures to keep your workforce safe.
Using window tinting on vehicles, introducing protective equipment or clothes, or providing shade are some examples of controls that can be implemented to reduce sun exposure for your workforce. Involving your team in creating and trialling the new control measures will mean you have a better chance of the new measures being adopted.
Once adopted, the control measures should be monitored and audited to ensure their effectiveness in the workplace. Designing a UV protection policy will record why and how the UV risk will be managed. The policy needs to include sun safety education and training, safe work practices and available sun protection controls.
As outlined in the health and safety act, employers are required to continue to monitor the health of their employees. This can take the form of self-examination with the employer providing information and education where appropriate or an annual on-site skin screening for those who have high exposure to UV radiation. Given our climate, an annual check by a GP is always recommended! If you would like to find out more about Sonic HealthPlus’ on-site skin screening services, click here.