Outdoor workers at higher risk of skin cancer

Outdoor workers are up to 3.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer than those who work indoors.

  • Wed Aug 10th, 2016 5:00pm
  • News

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

Outdoor workers are up to 3.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer than those who work indoors.

This is why WorkSafeBC and Sun Safety at Work Canada have recently produced two new videos to raise awareness regarding the dangers of sun exposure, risks and precautions.

Between 2011 and 2015 WorkSafeBC accepted 6 claims for malignant skin cancers caused by work-related sun exposure. Those working in the following occupations are among the highest at risk: construction, agriculture, letter carriers, electricians, landscapers and delivery/service drivers.

It is estimated that approximately 1.5 million Canadians are exposed regularly to the sun while working according to CAREX Canada.

In 2015, 85,000 Canadians were diagnosed with skin cancer and the rate continues to soar.

CAREX Canada says that sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer and can cause other health issues including: sunburn, skin damage, cataracts, eye lesions, eye cancer and heat related illnesses.

Currently under B.C’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, employers of outdoor workers are required to conduct sun regular sun exposure assessments to determine levels of risk and how to effectively manage it if a risk is determined.

“Every Canadian can benefit from reducing sun exposure including Canadian workers,” said Al Johnson, vice president at Prevention Services at WorkSafeBC.

“Here in B.C., preventing skin cancer and other occupational diseases is a high priority. Employers and workers can protect against the sun by planning ahead and taking precautions on days with high ultraviolet levels.”

According to WorkSafeBC and Sun Safety at Work Canada, here are some precautions for employers regarding sun exposure:

–          Provide tents and shade structures on machinery and equipment

–          Schedule the hardest physical tasks outside the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. when ultraviolet rays are the highest

–          Ensure work and rest cycles are scheduled regularly to allow workers to cool off in a shaded area

Outdoor workers can reduce their risk of skin cancer from the sun by:

–          Wearing sunglasses, wide brimmed hats, loose fitted clothing made of cotton or silk

–          Wearing sunscreen constantly throughout the day

–          Using a brim attachment and neck flap for hard hats

–          Drink water throughout the day-

For more information regarding sun safety on the job visit: Sun Safety at Work: Workers and Sun Safety at Work: Employers