Slip, slop, slap for sun safety this summer

With a heatwave expected around the State this week, business owners are being reminded to prepare their outdoor workers for extreme heat and protect against sun exposure.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the most recent data shows work-related skin cancer has cost NSW more than $12 million over a decade.

“There were 903 workers compensation claims for work-related skin cancer between 2006 and 2016,” Mr Kean said.

“Sadly, that included the deaths of 12 NSW workers because of skin cancer-related illness.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is for outdoor workers to take care in the sun. In Australia, ultra violet radiation is present every day in varying levels of intensity, whether it’s sunny, rainy or overcast.

“No matter what your job is when working outside, you need to wear sun-safe clothing, a wide-brim hat, sunglasses and at least SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen.”

Businesses that employ outdoor workers can download the Cancer Council’s free SunSmart app. It identifies key sun protection times for all regions around the State and provides two-hourly reminders to re-apply sunscreen.

“It’s not just the sun workers need to be wary of. Working in extreme heat can be harmful and sometimes even fatal,” Mr Kean said.

“Around the country between 2001-13, 13 workers died after working in extreme heat. It’s a tragedy when anyone leaves for work in the morning and doesn’t make it home at night.”

Warning signs for heat-related illness include fainting, confusion, intense thirst, dizziness and muscle cramps. If workers notice any of these signs, they should move to a cool place out of the sun, loosen clothing, drink water and seek medical advice.

“During extreme heat, employers should do what they can to minimise the risk. Where possible, outside work should be relocated so it is completed in a covered, well-ventilated area,” Mr Kean said.

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