Being exposed to the sun is a big health issue for workers who spend all day, every day working outside. These outdoor workers often receive a high dose of ultraviolet radiation during work hours and have a higher than average risk of skin cancer. To understand what strategies, alone or in combination, are the most effective in preventing or reducing sun exposure, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology, Curtin University in WA and Cancer Council Queensland are partnering with workplaces to put tailored sun safety plans in place.
The research team has been travelling to workplaces in the Far North, North West, Mackay and Darling Downs regions of Queensland. Workplaces will be selected from the rural industry sector, building and construction sector, local government, and the public sector. For each workplace, a comprehensive sun protection plan was developed in consultation with workers and management teams. They contained a mix of strategies tailored to their specific needs and workplace environment. Implementation of the plan have been occuring over 12 to 18 months, and the research team has been providing ongoing support to workplaces through this time to make sure that they can successfully implement the strategies.
At the end of the project the effectiveness of each plan will be evaluated by looking at improvements in the workplace’s environment and structures and changes in worker sun safe behaviour. The costs incurred by each workplace participating in the project will also be examined.
The QUT Outdoor Worker Sun Protection Project is an applied research project funded by Queensland Health. The project commenced in 2010 and is due to be completed in mid 2013. Case studies of each workplace will be developed in collaboration with them and a report containing recommendations based on the findings of the research will be submitted to Queensland Health.
For more information about the project, visit https://wiki.qut.edu.au/display/owsp