I bet you never thought about the sun protection when you filled out your latest risk assessment did you?
But the truth is, outdoor workers receive five to 10 times the amount of UV compared to indoor workers. The majority of skin cancers are caused by the suns UV radiation, so obviously those who work outdoors are at a significantly higher risk!
So tradies, if you’re working in the sun, protection should be an essential part of WHS.
Now that we’re heading into the hotter part of the year, the old ‘Slip Slop Slap’ rules still apply, but here’s a few extra tips you might not have thought about:
Wear protective clothing
It covers a large area of your skin, and won’t rub or sweat off like suncream. Long sleeves and long pants are best. Medium to dark fabric colours absorb UV better than white, but are cooler than black. And, you should replace your shirts a couple of times a year.
Use sun cream every day
Apply sun cream to any area that isn’t covered by your clothing, including your lips and ears, and the backs of your hands. Use SPF 30+, check the use by date, and apply 20 mins before heading outside.
Not all hats are equal, a cap will leave your ears and neck, chin and cheeks exposed.
Sunnies up to scratch?
They don’t just reduce glare, but protect your eyes from damage. Use protective glasses that comply with AS/NZS 1337. Look for lens category 2-4 UV protection rating on the label or EPF 9 or 10. Best protection comes from a larger frame that sits close to your face.
Tradies who spend a lot of time in their vehicles can be exposed to high levels of UV. Laminated windscreens can block almost all UV radiation, however side and rear windows are less protective. Window tint can reduce the amount of UV transmitting into a vehicle by 99%.
You can claim it
The Australian Taxation Office allows the cost of work-related sun protective clothing to be claimed as an expense for many outdoor workers. To see if you are eligible to claim, contact the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61, check out their website, or speak to your accountant / tax adviser.
Remember, to claim these expenses, you need to keep receipts for each purchase you make during the year.
UV Daily is a great website above is designed specifically for tradies working outdoors. With some great features like:
- Assessing your risk
- The UV index in your specific area
- Case studies
Early detection can save your life
The earlier skin cancer is found and treated, the better the chance of preventing the cancer spreading and causing serious illness or death. This is certainly the case for melanoma, but also applies to basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma which currently cause more than 500 deaths in Australia each year.
Your GP is important in the fight against skin cancer but the person most likely to find your new skin cancer is you. Know your skin and check it regularly – as often as recommended by your GP.
Stay safe, tradies.
- Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
- Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.