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August 27, 2009

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Guidance – Sun exposure- Be sensible in the sun

Skin Cancer and Outdoor Workers advises employers and unions on how to protect the hundreds of thousands of people who work outdoors when the sun is shining from the risks of UV radiation. It makes clear that it is simply not good enough for employers to say they have no control over the weather, or leave it up to individual workers to protect themselves from getting sunburnt.According to the TUC, every year there are around 100,000 new cases of skin cancer, with 8000 of these in the form of malignant melanoma, the most serious and fastest-growing form. The number of men with malignant melanoma has increased five-fold in the last 25 years, and the number of women diagnosed has gone up three-fold in the same period.TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This is not a case of workers getting a little hot under the collar. Skin cancer is the fastest-growing kind of cancer in the UK and is killing more and more people every year.The “simple precautions” the guide says employers can take include: changing working practices so that less outside work needs to be done either in the hottest months or during the middle of the day, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest; providing canopies, sheeting, or similar covering over open work areas, and making sure there are shaded areas for staff breaks; providing information for staff on how they can avoid exposure to UV radiation; and providing sunscreen and encouraging individuals to apply it regularly.The guidance can be downloaded from www.tuc.org.uk/extras/skincancer.pdf

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