UV Exposure


 It is CFMEU policy to reduce the risk of skin cancer for workers in the bulding and construction industry. A skin protection policy aimed at reducing workers' exposure to ultraviolet radiation should be implemented on all worksites involving outdoor workers.

Skin cancer and outdoor work.

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world with approximately 160,000 cases and 1,300 deaths recorded each year. Melanoma - the most serious type of skin cancer accounts for the majority of these deaths. The overall cost to the community is estimated at over $300 million including workers compensation and absenteeism costs of over $50 million. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun has been identified as the major cause of skin cancer. Outdooor workers are at risk of getting skin cancer because of their high exposure to UVR over extended periods of time.

Why a policy on skin protection?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that an employer has a duty of care towards employees. This means that if an employee is working outside he/she must be protected from UVR. Control options may include:

►            provide and maintain equipment needed to protect outdoor workers from UV rays;

►            set up systems of work to reduce the amount of time workers spend in the sun;

►            provide any information, instruction, training and supervision.

These optons shall be implemented with full consultatoin between management, workers and their representatives. Under the OH&S Act workers must cooperate with their employer to enable that requirement to be met. The employer must also ensure the employees comply.

Employers and workers should ensure that exposure to UV radiation in the workplace is minimised all year round by implementing a control strategy that includes the provision of personal protective clothing and equipment (referred to as PPCE). All PPCE should be selected in consultation with the employees.