The National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan aims to develop and implement evidence-based strategies which will increase awareness and adoption of skin cancer prevention behaviours, through cross-sectoral collaboration. With over 11,000 cases diagnosed annually, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland. This is twice the number compared to 10 years ago and is projected to more than double again by 2045. Yet most skin cancers could be prevented by protecting the skin.
Outdoor workers are identified as a high-risk group for the development of skin cancer as they spend long periods outdoors. Due to the nature of their occupation they can be exposed to 2 -3 times more UV radiation from the sun than indoor workers.
Both sporadic and chronic sun exposure can be harmful. Exposure causing sunburn is the most damaging, but frequent non-burning exposures also significantly increase the risk of skin cancer. Those who spend all or part of the day regularly working outdoors can reduce their risk of skin cancer by protecting their skin.
The Healthy Ireland SunSmart programme and Irish Cancer Prevention Network (ICPN) are engaging with outdoor workers and employers to deliver a focused approach to support SunSmart awareness and behaviours among outdoor workers.
The overarching message of this campaign:
Outdoor workers can reduce their risk of skin cancer by being SunSmart
This message is focused on outdoor workers and their employers
How employers of outdoor workers can take part and be SunSmart
- Include sun protection advice as part of health and safety programmes.
- Remind employees regularly about the dangers of the sun’s UV rays when working outdoors by, for example, displaying posters and providing leaflets.
- Ensure that managers and supervisors act as positive role models being SunSmart
- Develop a UV protection policy to record how your workplace will manage UV exposure risk at work. This may involve doing a risk assessment and providing sun-protective clothing, shade and sunscreen.
As well as outdoor workers, the campaign also encourages everyone to do their part and use SunSmart practices to reduce their risk of skin cancer. You can do this by following the 5 S’s of the SunSmart Code:
- Slop on sunscreen with a good UV rating and factor 30+
- Slip on sun protective clothing
- Slap on a wide brimmed hat
- Slide on sunglasses and
- Seek shade.
To learn more about the SunSmart campaign, click here