Most occupations come with their hazards. Sitting at a desk could lead to a sore back, working with animals could mean the odd bite, and climbing through a roof could give you a few scratches. However, one occupational hazard which you may not think about is skin cancer.
We have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and one of the main causes is UV radiation from the sun. Whether you work outdoors or indoors, you may be increasing your risk of skin cancer just by doing your job:
It makes sense that those who work outdoors are at risk of skin cancers including melanoma. Often landscaping, construction, and other outdoor occupations require work to be carried out during the hottest parts of the day. It is the responsibility of employers to provide adequate sun protection policies and procedures, training, and protective equipment to reduce the risk of sun damage.
However, a SHARC report taken in 2016 found 55% of Australians did some of their work activities outdoors, but 65% of employers did not provide the right clothing, and 52% did not supply sunscreen. When working outdoors, sunscreen should be applied regularly, as once in the morning will not be satisfactory for the whole day. In addition, hats, sunglasses, and long clothing are essential. Seeking shade and discussing sun safe options with your employer may also help. Prevention is better than cure, and regular skin and mole checks are recommended for any workers who spend time in the sun.
You may be surprised to learn that indoor workers are also at risk of skin cancer in Australia. Driving a vehicle can see you being subjected to UV rays, and this is particularly relevant for truck drivers and couriers. With the gig economy becoming more common, it is up to drivers to manage their own sun protection. You might consider tinted windows and long sleeves while driving. It is also important to protect your eyes.
If you think your skin won’t be touched by the sun inside a building, think again. Large windows can let in sunlight, and the higher you are the more powerful the sun can be. This is also true for those who travel by plane! Often glass will come with some UVA blocking, but probably won’t not stop UVA rays. At the very least it could lead to premature ageing.
Indoor workers may spend their lunch time outside, and while the fresh air can be enough to help you recharge, it is often during the brightest part of the day. You don’t have to avoid your daily walk, but be smart with your sun protection.
If you are concerned by an unusual mole or spot on your skin, we recommend a full skin and body check. We have numerous locations throughout the Perth region, and our friendly team are available for appointments. When detected and treated early, most skin cancers have a high cure rate, and it is always better to get those suspicious spots checked just in case.
With multiple locations throughout Perth and the South West there is a clinic near you!