6 Essential Ways to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer in the Workplace

UV Radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer among Australian’s. An incredible two thirds of Australian’s will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the time they are 70, which is why it’s so important to properly protect you and your workers from the harmful UV radiation of the sun.

Skin Cancer Facts:

  • 2 in 3 Australian’s will be diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70
  • 434,000 people are treated for non-melanoma skin cancer every year
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer is far more common in men than women
  • 11,570 people are treated for melanoma skin cancer every year
  • Melanoma skin cancer is the third most common cancer in both Australian men and women
  • Between 95 and 99% of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun

As an employer, it is your duty of care to ensure workers can get their job done safely by providing adequate education and materials to properly protect themselves from UV rays.

So, here are our top 6 tips on keeping both yourself and your employees safe in the sun:

1. Check the SunSmart UV alert

Knowing when the sun is at it’s harshest is an essential part of preparing your self and your employees adequately. The SunSmart UV protection alert is reported in the weather page of all Australian daily newspapers, on the BOM website and on some radio and mobile weather forecasts. But the easiest way to stay on top of UV warnings is to download the free SunSmart app to your phone – it will inform you when you need sun protection, and when you don’t. The Alert

2. Apply SPF50+ sunscreen liberally

SPF is the amount of UVB rays (the one’s that cause sunburn) you’re protected against. The higher the SPF, the more UVB rays are being blocked out. However, UVA rays (the one’s responsible for aging) are not blocked by high SPF. You instead need to buy only broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreens, which will protect you against both. Marine Blue sunscreens offer full UVA/UVB protection, and start at SPF50+ so you know you’re getting adequate protection. You should be using at least a full shot glass sized amount of sunscreen every time you apply – slather it on!

3. Reapply often

Applying sunscreen just once isn’t enough – you need to reapply it every time you excessively sweat, or once every two hours. It only takes 15 minutes to get sunburn, so it’s incredibly important you reapply often to avoid severe burning and exposure to UV rays.

4. Supplement your sunscreen with more forms of sun protection

Just wearing sunscreen isn’t enough to protect your self fully – be sure to wear sun protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible, wear a hat that protects your neck, face, head and ears, seek shade as much as possible and wear sunglasses with UV protective layer. Try to avoid the sun altogether during the middle of the day when the sun is at it’s strongest.

5. Know how to identify skin cancer

Knowing exactly what skin cancer looks like is an essential part of protecting yourself and co-workers or employees. The Caner Council has generated this handy print-out chart which will help you spot the different types of skin cancer easily. Regularly checking freckles, moles and spots on yourself and your peers will keep you a step ahead so you can detect any abnormalities early.

6. Get regular checkups from your doctor

Apart from just checking yourself, you should also visit a doctor regularly to check for any changes in your skin. If you notice any new spots or recognize a potential skin cancer from the previous tip, go directly to your GP and get it checked out.

The key to staying out of danger is to take all precautionary measures, not just one or two. Remember the facts and keep yourself and your employees safe.