In an effort to keep workers outdoor safe in the sun, the Government of Western Australia’s WorkSafe Department is reminding employers and employees of the dangers of the sun.
WorkSafe is urging workers – particularly those who work outside on a regular basis – to take care to avoid the risk of skin cancer. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch stated all precautions should be taken by workers who cannot avoid exposure to the sun in the course of their work.
“Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and at least two in every three Australians will develop skin cancer before they reach the age of 70,” McCulloch said.
“Around 2,000 Australians die each year from skin cancer, and although most skin cancers can be cured if detected and treated early enough, it is far better to prevent them by protecting the skin from the sun. People whose jobs involve a lot of time in the sun are at high risk of developing skin cancers, and employers have a responsibility to minimize all risks in the workplace,” McCulloch added.
Employers Have Duty to Protect Employees
Under occupational safety and health laws, employers have a duty of care to provide systems of work, information, training and personal protective clothing and equipment so employees are not exposed to hazards.
In consultation with safety and health representatives and employees, employers should identify any sun exposure hazards and introduce control measures to reduce exposure.
Employees also have a duty of care to themselves and others in the workplace, and must comply with instructions and use the protective clothing and equipment provided. This includes leaving hats on and not rolling up shirt sleeves while outdoors.
“Employers can also help out by rotating workers’ tasks where possible so their time in the sun is minimized,” McCulloch noted.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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