Despite being at a significant risk of skin cancer and heat stress, outdoor workers are often inadequately protected and workplaces find it difficult to implement effective sun safety measures. The Sun Safety at Work Canada project aimed to develop a nationally-applicable, effective and sustainable sun safety program for outdoor workers. The focus of this program was to address both skin cancer and heat stress prevention in the workplace.
The project was conducted between April 2014 and September 2016. In Phase 1, the project developed a sun safety program, including tools and resources, and trialled this with 17 workplaces throughout Canada. The intervention was rigorously evaluated at three time-points. Phase 2 focused on stakeholder engagement and knowledge translation, which included the development of a website to enable public access to the developed resources, and intensive communication with industry stakeholders.
The Phase 1 workplaces reported implementing 23 policy changes and 137 practice changes in their first year of implementation, and 97 new sun safety resources were developed. The evaluation identified a range of factors impacting sun safety initiatives at the workplaces from the perspectives of workers, OHS professionals and management. In Phase 2, 57 stakeholder organizations were engaged and a large number of communication activities were undertaken.
A large number of policy and practice changes were implemented across all workplaces, despite having a relatively short project timeframe. These sun safety initiatives resulted in substantial improvements at all of the workplaces and should provide a sound base for future initiatives. The stakeholder engagement activities resulted in an increased profile of the issue and laid a foundation for future policy-related action.
To learn more about Sun Safety at Work visit: www.sunsafetyatwork.ca.