Raise awareness of work-related skin cancer in Sun Awareness Week

08 May 2017

During Sun Awareness Week (8-14 May) IOSH is encouraging members to use the free resources from its No Time to Lose campaign to highlight cancer caused by solar radiation exposure at work.

Sun safety

The week is organised by No Time to Lose campaign supporter, the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), and aims to raise awareness of skin cancer, to encourage people to regularly self-examine their skin, and to educate the public about the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning.

In 2015, IOSH published research into solar radiation exposure at work in Britain, which revealed that each year, malignant melanoma – the more serious form of skin cancer – kills nearly 50 people, with 240 new cancer cases being registered.

The study was done by Imperial College London which also found that 42 per cent of malignant melanoma cancer cases involve construction workers. Other key sectors include agriculture, public administration and defence, and land transport.

Kate Field, Head of Information and Intelligence at IOSH, said: “We urge businesses to develop ‘sun safety strategies’ that include regular updates on the UV index from weather forecasts, minimising sun exposure in the middle of the day and asking employees to wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting tops and trousers. Using high-factor sunscreen is helpful but should not be relied on as the only barrier to the harmful rays.

“Our No Time to Lose campaign website has free resources businesses can download to raise awareness of sun exposure at work. The pack includes factsheets, posters, pocket cards and more to help inform and engage the work force.”

IOSH is also encouraging members to take part in the new NHS Preventing skin cancer in men survey to understand attitudes to sun exposure among male outdoor workers.

NHS England is a No Time to Lose campaign supporter, so we would like to help them gather good data to support their campaign too.

The purpose of this research is to help inform NHS England’s forthcoming campaign, which will involve No Time to Lose and aims to raise awareness of skin cancer and promote sun protection.

The survey should take around 5 minutes to complete and the deadline is 12 May 2017.

To view IOSH's No Time to Lose free resources, click here.