Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
Sunburn causes 95% of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. An estimated 145,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number set to rise to 150,000 by 2020.
The problem gets even worse when it comes to the outdoor workforce. Around 200 melanomas and 34,000 non-melanoma skin cancers per year are caused by occupational exposures in Australia. Recent meta-analyses have found that risk of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) among outdoor workers is nearly double that of indoor workers.
The upper estimates of SCC risk for year-round and seasonal workers with high or moderate exposure had an elevated risk, as compared with indoor workers. It is possible that outdoor workers are receiving as much as nine times the UV exposure experienced by indoor workers.
In recent studies, we’ve come to know that although sun protection was used by 95% of Australians outdoors workers exposed to solar radiation, only 8.7% of workers were classified as fully protected (used hat, sunscreen, clothing and shade for more than half the outdoor working time)
Moreover, only one in five workers (21%) who worked in direct sunlight undertook their work outside of peak UV hours to reduce sun exposure. The occupations with the highest percentage of outdoor workers were farming, painting and plumbing. Outdoor workers exposed to solar UV radiation were more likely to be males and those residing in lower socioeconomic and regional areas.
However, there’s something you can do about it!
One of the key objectives as an employer is workplace health and safety. We share that goal. We desire to make everyone safer as much as you. That’s the reason why At The Skin Cancer Doctor (TFSCD), we want to establish long term relationships with employers, helping them to take care of their workforce.
The first step towards protecting your workers is education. Given that time is of the essence you can start protecting your workers today by following these simple guidelines:
- Encourage workers to move jobs to shaded areas.
- Provide indoor areas or shaded outdoor areas for rest/meal breaks.
- Consider applying window tinting to work vehicles.
- Move work away from reflective surfaces such as concrete slabs.
- Schedule outdoor work tasks for earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon.
- Schedule indoor/shaded work tasks to occur in the middle part of the day.
- Encourage workers to rotate between indoor/shaded and outdoor tasks to avoid exposing any one individual to UV radiation for long periods of time.
Also, at The Skin Cancer Doctor we can offer you tailor-made on-site skin cancer clinics that can both diagnose and treat skin cancer, as well as consultations on the matter, both for you and your employees. Moreover, we can help you develop your own Sun Protection Policy that adjust to what your business and employees need.
Don’t forget that when it comes to adding value, protecting the people that work for you is priceless.
|Protect your company, protect your people, it’s never too early to check: Reach us today|
Some condensed numbers:
- An Estimated 11% of all new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2019
- Only 8.7% of workers qualify as fully protected
- For outdoor workers, there’s almost double the risk of skin Cancer compared to indoor workers. They’ll be receiving nine times more UV exposure than an indoor worker. Less than 10% are really protected against UV rays. And only one in five workers (21%) who worked in direct sunlight undertook their work outside of peak UV hours to reduce sun exposure.
- The occupations with the highest percentage of outdoor workers victims of skin cancer were farming, painting and plumbing