Take the tradie test and see your risk factor

You might think you’re already doing enough to protect yourself from UV radiation. But are you? Take our quick and easy Tradie Test, discover your risk rating and find out if you could be doing more.

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On average, how many hours do you spend outdoors during the middle part of the day?*
The more time you spend outdoors unprotected during the middle part of the day when the UV level is highest, the greater your risk of skin cancer.

Know your skin type

Your skin type and natural skin colour determine how susceptible you are to sunburn. When it comes to sunburn, moderately pigmented and darkly pigmented skin can stand more exposure to UV compared to those with fair skin. So the lighter your skin, the more easily you’ll burn. Remember that we are talking about your NATURAL skin colour, and not your tan.

Sunburn is evidence of exposure to harmful levels of UV radiation. Tanned skin is also a sign that the skin has been damaged by UV radiation, even when no sunburn is experienced. A tan offers little, if any, protection against DNA damage from UV radiation which can lead to skin cancer.

Find out what skin type you have

Our quick and easy quiz will let you know which of the six types you have; and how to best protect yourself against skin damage.

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What is your eye colour?*

Get the right tools for the job

Every job’s easier with the right tools and equipment. Here are the essentials you need to keep yourself safe and protected from UV radiation. Remember, the UV index can be high even on cool or cloudy days, so always take precautions whatever the weather.

Protect yourself with proper clothing

Protective clothing is one of the best forms of sun protection, and here’s some tips to make sure yours is giving you the best possible protection.

Look for clothing rated UPF50+, which provides excellent sun protection.
Choose medium to dark fabric colours as they absorb more UV radiation than light colours and are cooler than black.
The more skin that is covered, the better, so choose long sleeves and long pants.
Choose a shirt made with a high percentage of natural fibre (e.g. cotton, wool, bamboo), as it will be more comfortable than synthetic materials.
Look for shirts with lots of well-placed venting, but not large amounts of mesh where the UV radiation can reach the skin beneath.

Know your sunscreen and use it everyday

When applied and reapplied correctly, sunscreen provides effective sun protection. However, sunscreen should not be relied on as the only form of sun protection.

An SPF50+ broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen offers the best protection.
Apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin, 20 minutes before heading outside.
Regardless of the instructions on the bottle, remember to reapply every two hours, or more often if sweating excessively.
Adults should apply at least one teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm, leg, front of body and back of body and head (including the face, ears and neck)—that is, 35ml (or seven teaspoons) of sunscreen for one full body application.
Sunscreen can expire, so always check the expiry date and store in a cool place below 30°C. As work vehicles can get very hot, keep sunscreen in your cooler box instead.
Dry-touch sunscreens are available. These may be a good option for those who don’t like the feel of wearing sunscreen, or work in a dusty environment.

Slap on hats for outdoor work

Make sure your hat provides the best protection

  • Avoid baseball caps – they leave your nose, cheeks, chin, neck and ears exposed, which are common sites for skin cancer.
  • Choose a broad-brimmed, bucket or legionnaire-style hat for the best protection.
  • Look for broad-brimmed hats with a brim of at least 7.5cm.
  • Look for bucket hats with a deep crown, which sit low on the head and have an angled brim of at least 6cm.
  • Look for legionnaire-style hats with a flap that covers the neck.
  • Choose a hat with an ultraviolet protection rating (UPF) of 50+, or has a tight weave to stop UV radiation getting through
  • Attaching brims and neck flaps will improve the sun protection of hard hats and helmets.

Make the most of shade

If you’re fortunate enough to have shade available at work, make use of it wherever possible, including during breaks.

This may be in the form of permanent shade, portable shade (such as gazebos) or trees. Whatever you use, make sure it casts a dark shadow, and remember, UV can reflect off surfaces, so make sure you use other forms of sun protection as well.

Are your sunnies up to the job?

Sunglasses don’t just reduce glare; they also protect your eyes from damage such as cataracts, or even cancer.

In Australia, all sunglasses sold must include UV protection. Look for the words ‘good UV protection’ on the label or swing tag.
Look for glasses that fit close to your face and provide protection from the sides in the form of a wrap-around design, or have side shields. These reduce UV radiation reaching the eyes around the edge or top of the glasses.
Safety glasses with UV protection area also available, these can be clear or tinted and provide the benefits of both UV protection and impact protection.

Your Responsibility

In workplace health and safety (WHS) regulations, workers have certain responsibilities regarding UV (Ultraviolet) radiation to ensure their safety and the safety of others. These responsibilities typically include:

Compliance with Policies and Procedures: Workers are expected to follow their employer’s policies and procedures related to UV protection. This may include wearing appropriate protective clothing, using sunscreen, and seeking shade when necessary.

Participation in Training: Workers should participate in any UV awareness and protection training provided by their employer. This training can help them understand the risks associated with UV exposure and how to mitigate them.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): workers should wear PPE, such as UV-protective clothing, hats and sunglasses, ensure their PPE is in good condition and report any issues to their supervisor.

Seeking Medical Advice: Workers should promptly report any signs of sunburn or skin damage to their supervisor and seek medical advice if necessary. Early detection and treatment of UV-related health issues are important.

Safe Work Practices: Workers need to use safe work practices, such as taking breaks in shaded areas, staying hydrated, and minimising direct sun exposure during peak UV times, if possible.

Reporting Hazards: If a worker identifies any hazards related to UV exposure in the workplace, they should report them to their supervisor or health and safety representative.

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