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Community and Port of Tauranga workers benefit from SPA

The health and safety team from Port of Tauranga now notices more workers slopping on sunscreen and slapping on a hat before heading out to work. The port’s health and safety team share their experience of adding the Sun Protection Alert (SPA) to their website.

It’s a gratifying sight after Port of Tauranga introduced a SunSmart policy for its outdoor workers in 2017 and is something the health and safety team believes has been supported by the addition of the SPA to the port’s website.

The SPA provides the time each day that you need to protect your skin and eyes from ultraviolet radiation for each area of New Zealand.

The port’s health and safety team discovered the SPA during their research to create the port’s SunSmart policy for its outdoor workers. The SPA was then added to the port’s harbour conditions page and the internal “work orders” page, where the operational workers go each day to check the shipping movement times.

The port’s outdoor worker groups check the work orders screen in their break room when they arrive at work, noting the daily SPA times. Managers and supervisors also remind their work groups at toolbox meetings to “slip, slop, slap and wrap” before going outside.

While having the SPA on the work orders page clearly targets employees, having it on the harbour conditions webpage also spreads the benefits to the wider community. A large number of other recreational harbour users (including the port workers who frequently use the harbour on days off) check that page so it’s the ideal place for the port to offer a reminder of when to be SunSmart.

Since Port of Tauranga introduced a SunSmart policy, including the SPA, the health and safety team has noticed more outdoor workers putting on hats and sunscreen before heading outside.

The port’s health and safety team says the SPA was an easy and welcome addition to the port’s website, and is an easy way for anyone heading outside to check the protection time and prepare themselves to go out.

They say it makes sense to have this information visible and accessible for workers, and is part of their responsibility to keep workers safe.

Other SunSmart steps

Port of Tauranga introduced a SunSmart policy at the same time as adding the SPA to its website. It’s held sun protection training for its outdoor worker groups, including how to “slip, slop, slap and wrap”, and how much sunscreen is the correct amount to use for full protection.

In terms of personal protective equipment, the port provides sunscreen, UV400 polarised sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, hardhat sun visors with neck flaps, and offers long-sleeved shirts and pants to those who want them.

Employees are also encouraged to download and use the UVNZ app, which provides the current UV levels in their location.


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