AUSTRALIANS who work outdoors are 70% more likely to develop cancer than indoor workers. While Queensland might have the worst skin cancer rates in the world, the cooler Victorian weather offers little more protection.
In fact, a survey of 100 Victorian companies that employed outdoor workers showed one in five had received compensation claims from employees relating to skin cancer or sun damage.
UV radiation protection specialist UVeto claims that wearing the right clothes can dramatically reduce the risk of skin cancer. A 2002 audit of the Queensland construction industry found that only 10% of workers were appropriately protected. Protection includes wraparound sunglasses, a UPF-rated shirt with a collar, a hat that included neck protection and 30+ sunscreen on exposed skin that was reapplied every two hours.
The company suspects a bad experience with poor quality clothes is one of the reasons why more construction workers are not better protected. It recommends avoiding fibres that trap in the heat and selecting garments made from top quality micromesh or cotton fabrics which carry a UPF rating that is certified by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). It also suggests buyers ask for a copy of the ARPANSA test report to confirm the rating.
UVeto fabrics are extremely fine, resulting in light-weight, cool and comfortable clothes. 20% of workers' compensation claims made by outdoor workers are for skin cancer and if the cancer amounts to a serious injury, common law damages are available.
A full range of UV personal protective equipment will be on show at UVeto's stand at The Safety Show, Sydney, which runs from 13-15 October at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.