In the depths of winter the last thing we may be thinking about is sun protection, but like all areas of corporate health risk prevention, preparation and planning are key. Desperate for some vitamin-d enriched rays, it’s easy to forget the dangers of too much UV radiation, and come summer if we haven’t got a prevention plan in place we are left vulnerable to a range of debilitating effects.
Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world which results in serious social and financial costs to the community and workplace. With such clear evidence that reducing sun exposure makes almost all skin cancers preventable, it’s more important than ever to educate your employees on practicing effective sun protection strategies during both work and leisure time.
Sun Safe Education in the Workplace
Protection from too much sun exposure is the most sure-fire way of preventing skin cancer so raising corporate health awareness of basic sun protection strategies is the first crucial step. Consider hiring an external corporate health services provider to run a seminar of sun safety, and distribute informative health education pamphlets with detailed information.
Based on the Australian ‘Slip Slop Slap and Slide’ campaign, during peak UV periods you should encourage your employees to:
SLIP on light weight, loose-fitting, sun-protective clothing that covers highly exposed areas such as the back of the neck.
SLOP on a broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply every two hours or more often if swimming or perspiring, and don’t forget those often forgotten ears, hands and lips. Carry a clear SPF+ lip balm and reapply often.
SLAP on a broad brimmed hat that properly protects the face, ears and neck.
SLIDE on some close fitting, preferably wrap-around style sunglasses. Always check the tags when buying sunglasses to ensure they meet the Australian Standards.
The Importance of Regular Skin Checks
While prevention is always better than cure, early detection of skin cancer is crucial because most skin cancers can be cured if treated early. You should encourage your staff to regularly examine their skin and educate them on what sort of changes to look for, and to contact their doctor if any symptoms occur.
Workplace skin checks as part of corporate health and wellness programs can be organised by corporate health services providers and sun safety stalls can be incorporated into corporate health expos. Early detection can save lives, but remind your staff that protection is always the best strategy. With some slip, slop, slap and slide you and your staff can enjoy some healthy time outdoors once the hot weather is upon us.
For more information on Corporate Health, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888) or contact us.