Outdoor Workers and Sun Protection: Knowledge and Behaviour

Jane Cioffi
Lesley Wilkes
Jess O'Brien


Outdoor workers are at high risk of developing skin cancer. Primary prevention can potentiallyreduce the incidence of skin cancer in this group. This study aimed to determine theknowledge and sun protective behaviour of outdoor workers towards skin cancer. A shortquestionnaire was used to collect data from workers on construction sites during workinghours. Despite workers having knowledge of the risks of skin cancer their use of sun protectionwas less than satisfactory, particularly considering their cumulative exposure.Workplace health education programs for outdoor workers addressing sun protection areindicated, as is further research to increase understanding of issues workers have withsun protection in the workplace.

Full Text:



Airey, D.K., Wong, J.C., Fleming, R.A. and Meldrum, L. R. (1997) An estimate of the total UV-B exposure for outdoor workers during a south-east Queensland summer. Health Physics, 72, 544â9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004032-199704000-00005

Australian Bureau of Statistics (1999) Na-tional Health Survey: Cancer related infor-mation. Special article. September.

Borland, R. M., Hocking, B., Godkin, G. A., Gibbs, A. F. and Hill, D. J. (1991) The impact of a skin cancer control education package for outdoor workers. Medical Journal of Australia, 154, 686â8.

Coates, M. S. and Armstrong, B. K. (2000) Cancer in NSW. Incidence and mortality 1997. NSW Cancer Council, Sydney.

Dobbinson, S, and Knight, K. (2001) Protect-ing workers from ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. Journal of Occupational Health SafetyâAustralia and New Zealand, 17, 587â 589.

Gies, P. H., Roy, C. R., Toomey, S. and McLennan, A. (1997) Protection against so-lar UV radiation. Sun Protection Seminar Papers. Australian Cancer Society.

Girgis, A., Sanson-Fisher, R. W., and Wat-son, A. (1994) A workplace intervention for increasing outdoor workers' use of solar protection. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 77â81. http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.84.1.77

Green, A., Battistutta, D., Hart, V., Leslie, D. and Weedon, D. (1996) Skin cancer in a sub-tropical Australian population: Incidence and lack of association with occupation. The Nambour Study Group. American Journal of Epidemiology, 144, 1034â40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a008875

Hill, D., White, V., Marks, R., Theobald, T., Borland, R. and Roy, C. (1992) Melanoma prevention: Behavioural and nonbehavioural factors in sunburn among an Australian ur-ban population. Preventive Medicine, 21, 654â669. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0091-7435(92)90072-P

Kimlin, M. G., Parisi, A.V. and Wong, J. C. (1998) Quantification of personal solar UV exposure of outdoor workers, indoor work-ers and adolescents at two locations in south-east Queensland. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, Photomedicine, 14, 7â11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0781.1998.tb00002.x

Marks, R., Staples, M., and Giles, G.G.(1993) Trends in non-melanocytic skin cancer treated in Australia: the second national survey. International Journal of Cancer, 53, 585â590. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.2910530410

Moehrle, M., Koehle, W., Dietz, K. and Lis-chka, G. (2000). Reduction of erythema dose by sweating. Photodermatology, Photoim-munology, Photomedicine, 16, 260â262. http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0781.2000.160605.x

NSW Health Department (2000) Public Health Division, Report on the 1997 and 1998 NSW Health Surveys. http://www.health.nsw/gov.au/public-nswhs/sun_intro.htm.

Parisi, A. V., Meldrum, L.R., Wong, J.C., Ait-ken, J. and Fleming R. A. (1999) Lifetime ultraviolet exposure estimates for selected population groups in south-east Queen-sland. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 44, 2947â53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0031-9155/44/12/307

Rosenthal, F.S., Phoon, C., Bakaaalian, A. E. and Taylor, H. R. (1988) The ocular dose of ultraviolet radiation to outdoor workers. In-vestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sci-ence, 29, 649â56.

Sahn, E. (1995) Why teenagers embrace sun's dangers. In Skin cancerâThe need for continuing education. Hill, M. Dermatology Nursing, 7, 220â222.

Schofield, P. E., Freeman, J. L., Dixon, H.G., Borland, R. and Hill, D.J. (2001) Trends in sun protection behaviour among Australian young adults, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 25, 62â65. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-842X.2001.tb00552.x

The Cancer Council NSW and NSW Health Department (2001) Skin Cancer Prevention Strategic Plan for NSW 2001â2005.

Wentworth Area Health Service (2000) Health profile: Wentworth Area Health Ser-vice 1993â1998 Penrith, NSW.

Wong, J.C., Airey, D.K., and Fleming, R.A. (1996) Annual reduction of solar UV expo-sure to the facial area of outdoor workers in southeast Queensland by wearing a hat. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, Pho-tomedicine, 12, 131â5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0781.1996.tb00189.x


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5130/AJCEB.v2i2.2896

Share this article: