Safe Work Australia has developed a fact sheet on the risks of solar (UVR) ultraviolet radiation exposure at work.
Raising awareness of the dangers of UVR for anyone who works outside is important, given the high rate of skin cancer in Australia. Around two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70*.
Safework Australia said “Exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation is a risk for anyone who works outside. Solar UVR is not only a hazard when working in direct sunlight. It can also be reflected off certain materials, such as concrete, metal, snow and sand, increasing the level of exposure.”
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In discussing the recent release, Safetysure Principal Consultant John Ninness said the effects of sun exposure at work are well known with many Australian workers suffering skin-related conditions including melanoma and a range of other skin cancers. Mr Ninness said “these conditions impact many Australian workers later in life. We must change the culture when it comes to exposures.”
Skin cancer is a major cause of illness in Australia. Skin cancer accounts for the largest number of cancers diagnosed in Australia each year.
In 2016, an estimated 13,280 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Australia, and 1,770 people will die from this disease. The age-standardised incidence rate of melanoma has increased from 27 cases per 100,000 in 1982 to 49 per 100,000 in 2016. However, for people aged less than 40 the incidence rate has dropped from a peak of 13 cases per 100,000 in 2002 to an estimated 9.4 per 100,000 in 2016. Between 1982 and 2016, the age-standardised mortality rate has risen from 4.7 deaths per 100,000 to an estimated 6.2 deaths per 100,000.
The total number of new cases of NMSC is unknown because the most recent data available for the two most commonly diagnosed NMSCs is for 2002. NMSC was estimated to account for more cases diagnosed than all other cancers combined in 2002. In 2016, an estimated 560 people will die from NMSC, with a mortality rate of 1.9 deaths per 100,000 people.*
Source AIHW (See below)
The Safework Australia fact sheet contains information on identifying when UVR exposure may be a hazard and ways to assess and manage the risks associated with exposure.
Download and share the ultraviolet radiation fact sheet in your workplace today.
For more information the Safework working in the heat web page.