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Safety Matters


Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.

Sun Awareness Week: Prevent skin cancer on the job

It’s Sun Awareness Week and with the days getting longer and brighter, it’s time to remember why we should stay safe in the sun.

Skin cancer rates have been on a steady increase in Canada for the past 30 years, making up one in three new cases.  Here in Nova Scotia, we have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the country.

The 2006 national sun survey reported 29 per cent of Atlantic Canadians aged 16 to 64 have a job that requires them to work outdoors.  However, only 29 per cent of Canadian workers surveyed reported using sunscreen and 38 per cent attempted to avoid the sun while working.

The top reasons for not practicing sun safety at work were that it was easily forgotten or inconvenient.  However, UV exposure is an occupational hazard for those working outdoors, especially when outdoor workers often work when UV radiation is strongest.  Sun Safety at Work Canada reports that outdoor workers are 2.5 to 3.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer than someone who works indoors.

Skin cancer is largely preventable, and your best bet is always protecting yourself outdoors.  Cover up with clothing like hats, pants and long sleeves, and always wear sunglasses with UV protection.  

Use a sunscreen and lip balm with at least an SPF 30, and spend time in the shade or indoors when it’s break time.

Finally, keep a check on your skin!  Report any changes in your skin or suspicious moles to your doctor.  Early detection can make all the difference, and mean more time doing what matters most to you.

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