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Managing and monitoring workplace UV exposure

Because sun exposure is a workplace hazard, employers have a responsibility to reduce workers’ exposure to too much solar UV radiation.

Whether they are required to spend time outdoors intermittently or for long periods of time, employers should take action to make sure their people are SunSmart.

What employers do

WorkSafe has guidelines for the protection of workers from solar UV radiation. They were prepared because of the current high incidence of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, in New Zealand and concerns about possible increases in UV radiation.

The guidelines (prepared in 1994) look at exposure assessments, minimising exposure, training and education and the benefits of early detection of skin cancers by self checking

They include a paragraph on what’s expected around UV exposure assessments:

"For each group of employees, an assessment should be made of the solar UV radiation to which they are likely to be exposed. This should include identification of the tasks with the time of day they are carried out and the period involved. Other factors that may influence exposure to UV radiation should also be identified. These may include the shade provided by the working environment; reflective surfaces such as water, snow or bright building surfaces; or any photosensitising substances associated with the work."

It's a good idea to think about managing UV risks in relation to making other workplace risks. WorkSafe has plenty of information and advice on how to manage work risks. 

What employees should do

Employees also have a responsibility to follow UV protection policies and use sun protective measures provided. Co-operation between employers and employees can help minimise UV exposure in the workplace.

Read more information on how to help your employees stay SunSmart at work.

Running a work event outside? Make sure it's SunSmart.

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