Skin cancer from solar UV radiation is a growing risk, says UK safety expert Arco
Over exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is the leading cause of melanoma skin cancers in the UK. As melanoma cases are rising faster than any other common cancer, the UK’s leading safety company, Arco, is raising awareness of the risks for outdoor workers and the responsibility employers have in taking an active role in helping to protect their workforce.
Despite the growing consequences of unprotected UV exposure, a survey of health and safety managers conducted by S C Johnson Professional found that 76% of UK health & safety professionals were unaware of the danger, stating that they did not know that one death and five new cases of skin cancer per week in Britain could be attributed to occupational UV exposure.
There is a common misconception that the weather in the UK is not sunny enough to pose a high risk of skin cancer to outdoor workers. However, up to 80% of dangerous UV rays still get through light cloud and the strength of solar radiation is not connected to temperature. Workers are also often unaware that they are at risk of developing skin cancer, resulting in many not applying sun protection even if it has been provided.
Getting painful sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer. It is vital employers understand their responsibility and legal duty of care when protecting their workers from UV radiation. The Health and Safety at Work Act requires every employer to ensure the health of their employees as far as reasonably practical. Employers are also obligated to provide information, instruction, training, and supervision to ensure workers’ safety.
Employers need to do more than provide sun cream to their staff. Greater education, training and on-going compliance can help protect outdoor workers who face ten times more sun exposure than indoor workers every year.
Arco can offer bespoke on-site training, product trials and supporting materials to help raise awareness of the dangers of working outdoors and drive behavioural change.
Nick Foort, Workplace Skincare Specialist at Arco, says, “90% all occupational skin cancer deaths are preventable. It is vital employers put the right precautions in place to protect their workers before they end up paying the ultimate price.”
For more information on the risks, advice on best practice and skincare assessments from the Arco team, visit www.arco.co.uk/uvrisks.