Don’t fall victim to the ‘invisible killer’
As occupational skin cancer cases increase, safety experts warn employers of the risks of UV radiation, as two out of three workers are unaware they are at risk of skin cancer, resulting in many not applying protection whilst working outdoors.
Technical Skin Specialist at Arco, Nick Foort, discusses the risk of skin cancer facing outdoor workers, and that employers have the responsibility to guarantee protection.
With more than 1,500 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 240 cases of malignant melanoma linked to solar radiation reported in Britain each year, it is vital employers understand their responsibility and legal duty of care when protecting their workers from UV radiation.
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 heavy cloud, and the strength of solar radiation is not connected to temperature.
Many Health and Safety Managers express a real concern around the health and wellbeing of their employees and appreciate the risk of skin cancer from UV exposure poses, but often feel that there are other risks that require more immediate attention.
However, many are shocked to learn that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world, and cases in the UK are rising faster than the rest of Europe. On average five workers a day get skin cancer in Britain, with occupational skin cancer killing 60 people every year, which is more than falls from height or crush injuries.
90% of all occupational skin cancer deaths are preventable, thus the importance of employers placing the right precautions in place to protect their workers is paramount.
Due to the high risk involved with skin cancer and the fact that outdoor workers receive up to 10 times more yearly sun exposure than indoor workers, employers need to do more than simply provide sun cream to their staff, greater education into the risks facing outdoor workers needs to be carried out. Now is the time employers need to ensure they are going above and beyond to offer education and protection.