UV exposure at work

Each year in Australia it is estimated that 200 melanomas and 34,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by occupational exposures.

Under Western Australian occupational safety and health legislation, employers or PCBU (person conducting business or undertaking) are required to provide a safe working environment. This legislation also states that, as a worker, you must cooperate with your workplace’s sun protection program.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies ultraviolet (UV) radiation as a Group 1 Carcinogen, which means it’s known to cause cancer in humans. This is the same risk category as asbestos and tobacco.

To meet legal obligations, employers should address UV radiation as a workplace hazard and implement control measures to minimise exposure.

Safe Work Australia has developed a solar radiation fact sheet on the risks of solar UV exposure at work. This fact sheet contains information on identifying when UV exposure may be a hazard and ways to assess and manage the risks associated with exposure.

Outdoor workers

Cancer Council WA recommends that workplaces have a comprehensive sun protection program in place that includes:

  • Conducting a risk assessment
  • Implementing sun protection control measures
  • Training employees to work safely in the sun
  • Developing & implementing a sun protection policy
  • Monitoring program effectiveness

People who work outdoors in Australia receive up to 10 times more sun exposure than indoor workers, placing them at higher risk of skin damage and skin cancer. Because of this higher risk it is recommended outdoor workers use sun protection whenever they are outside all year round. 

Cancer Council WA can assist workplaces by providing:

For more information email or call (08) 9212 4333.

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Self-employed outdoor workers

If self-employed, it’s in your best interest to look after yourself (and any staff or volunteers) and use sun protection at work.

To help self-employed outdoor workers stay safe in the sun, the UV Daily website is your one-stop-shop and provides:

  • Risk assessment tools
  • Steps to take action
  • Case studies, blog articles & videos

You can also follow UV Daily on social media for sun protection reminders:


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Tax deductions

The Australian Taxation Office allows the cost of work-related sun protective clothing to be claimed as an expense for many outdoor workers. Talk to your tax advisor or the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61 or visit

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Online ‘UV and Heat Awareness’ course

Cancer Council WA has worked in collaboration with AVELING to develop an online ‘UV and Heat Awareness’ training course. This course is designed for outdoor workers and covers:

  • Understanding UV and Heat Exposure
  • Health Effects and Hazards of UV and Heat
  • First Aid and Treatment for UV and Heat

Cancer Council WA encourages outdoor workers to complete the course.





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