Sun Awareness Week 2015 – Helping to reduce sun exposure in Canadian workplaces
June 1, 2015 (Vancouver, BC) – To mark Sun Awareness Week 2015, taking place from June 1st-7th, CAREX Canada is highlighting its involvement as a partner in the Sun Safety at Work Canada project, a sun safety program for outdoor workers.
Sun exposure is a serious – and largely preventable – occupational hazard. It is the leading cause of skin cancer and can cause other health effects including sunburn, skin damage, cataracts, eye lesions, eye cancer, and heat-related illness.
An estimated 67% of outdoor workers in Canada spend two or more working hours in the sun daily and as many as 7,000 skin cancers were attributed to occupational exposure to the sun in 2014.[2,3] According to the Canadian Cancer Statistics, 1 in 3 new cancer cases in Canada are skin cancer, making it the most common type of cancer in the country.
CAREX estimates show that approximately 1.5 million Canadians are exposed to sun on the job. The largest industrial groups exposed in Canada are construction, farming, and building care and maintenance. The detailed exposure estimate is available under our Profiles and Estimates tab.
These exposure estimates were used to inform the priority workplaces for the Sun Safety at Work Canada project. The project is currently in Phase One, which involves engaging workplaces for building and improving Sun Safety (including skin cancer and heat stress prevention) programs. A total of 13 workplaces are participating, including municipalities, public utilities, and a national park. These workplaces are located in Southern Ontario, Lower Mainland BC, and Nova Scotia/New Brunswick, where five project Sun Safety Advisors are working locally to mobilize the project. The target population is outdoor workers in green spaces, which include municipal, regional and national parks, cemeteries, and power line areas.
“The project’s ultimate goal is to create a program to protect outdoor workers that would be sustainable for workplaces across Canada.” – Thomas Tenkate, Project Lead, Professor and director of the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University in Toronto
For more information about the Sun Safety at Work Canada project and its other partners, including the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC), please visit the OCRC website. To receive updates on the Sun Safety at Work Canada project, which will include news on future workshops and resources, please follow CAREX Canada on Twitter, or sign-up for our quarterly CAREX e-Bulletin newsletter.
Sun Safety at Work Canada is a Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP) project funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
The Canadian Dermatology Association’s nationwide Sun Awareness Week takes place annually to help educate Canadians about dangers of excessive sun exposure — and reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the country.
- Marrett LD, Pichora EC, Costa ML. Work-time Sun Behaviours Among Canadian Outdoor Workers: Results From the 2006 National Sun Survey. Can J Public Health. 2010;101(4):119-122.
- Steenland K, Burnett C, Lalich N, Ward E, Hurrell J. Dying for work: The magnitude of US mortality from selected causes of death associated with occupation. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2003; 43(5): 461–482.
- Nurminen M & Karjalainen A. Epidemiologic estimate of the proportion of fatalities related to occupational factors in Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Work. Environment and Health. 2001; 27(3): 161–213.
- Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. 2014.
- CAREX Canada. Solar Radiation Occupational Exposure Estimate. 2014.