Australian tradies feel the heat

Research indicates Australian tradies are at the highest risk of getting skin cancer in their lifetime.

An industry survey by jobfinding agency ServiceSeeking found more than half Australia’s tradies put comfort before safety.

The finding is supported by other Australian research about the effects of sun exposure.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) says two-thirds of Australians will get skin cancer by the age of 70, with the biggest cause being exposure to UV radiation.

The Cancer Council says more than 750,000 Australians are treated for skin cancer each year, with up to 99 per cent of these cases caused by exposure to UV rays.

Curtin University School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences Professor Deirdre Coombe says Australia is at greater risk due to high levels of UV radiation.

“Australia has always had high UV radiation, and the danger of this is increased further by the hole in the ozone layer, which adds another risk factor,” she says.

A study by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research found roughly two million people were affected by solar radiation at work due to inadequate sun protection.

Partner on the study Professor Lin Fritschi says 95 per cent of workers claimed they used sun protection but protection measurements don’t vary between different types of work.

“Workers need to be aware that reflective surfaces can also create significant levels of of UVR, which is why tradespeople on roofs, near water or next to a glass window in a vehicle are exposed,” she says.

Electrical Group Training apprentice Jobah Howell says a lot of his co-workers opt to wear non-protective clothing due to hot working conditions.

“Quite a few of the workers choose to wear shorts and short sleeves because it can get too hot working in anything else, but the workplace is pushing people to be more proactive to try and lessen the chance of getting cancer,” he says.

SunSmart advises workers in the sun to cover up, wear hats and put on sunscreen to greatly reduce their exposure to UV radiation.



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