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UV protection in the workplace

The workplace is a major source of exposure for many Australian adults, with outdoor workers receiving up to ten times more ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure compared to indoor workers. UV radiation is present anytime there is daylight. Both high intensity and low intensity UV radiation exposure is linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. Each dose of UV received builds up, accumulating over the lifetime.

It is not surprising that outdoor workers who are required to spend long periods of time working in the sun, year after year, have a higher-than-average risk of skin cancer.

Data from the 2016-17 National Sun Protection Survey suggests that only 62 per cent of Australian workplaces have a sun protection policy in place. The survey also revealed only 59 per cent of adults who spent some time outdoors during their work reported that their workplace provides sunscreen, 62 per cent of adults reported that their workplace encourages sun protection when working outside.

SunSmart Workplace consultation program

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), has a duty of care to ensure workers are not exposed to risks to their health and safety because of work activities. Cancer Council SA can provide PCBUs with support in identifying UV risks within the workplace and help you develop strategies to address them.

We can assist workplaces to meet their WH&S responsibilities and duty of care by providing a range of resources, education sessions for workers and support for developing a UV protection program through the SunSmart workplace consultation program. The aim of these consultation sessions is to ensure that leadership positions (organisations) are aware of requirements for sun protection from a WH&S perspective. These sessions will provide workplaces with an opportunity to expand on their knowledge about sun protective measures in addition to identifying risks and review current practices in their respective workplace.

To support the implementation, workplaces may also request an education session for their outdoor workforce. A full hour session will include a comprehensive explanation of UV radiation, sun protection in the workplace and skin cancer early detection. The session will be tailored to the needs of your workplace based on the consultation session. We’re here to help!

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Resources for your workplace

Download or order free resources on UV protection in the workplace.

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UV protection program

Use this step-by-step guide to develop or review your UV protection program.

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SunSmart Workplace Consultation program

Book a SunSmart Workplace consultation for your outdoor team and/or an information session for your whole organisation.

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More information on UV radiation and skin cancer:

This webpage was last reviewed and updated in March 2022.