Creating a UV Aware Work Environment - Employers Workplace Health

Sunlight is the greatest source of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Outdoor workers are most vulnerable to its effects but there are also several man-made ultraviolet sources that can be found in the workplace.

Some Facts for Employers about UV Exposure

According to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (2010):

  • The estimated cost of skin cancer in Canada in 2004 including direct medical costs and indirect costs (sickness, death and disability costs) was $531,750,000. 
  • A severe sun burn, concern of a diagnosis of cancer or the effects of treatments may impact job performance even when at work

Benefits of Creating a UV Aware Work Environment

  • Better employee health 
  • Fewer health benefit claims 
  • Reduced absenteeism 
  • Reduced presenteeism 
  • Increased productivity 
  • Protection from liability charges and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claims

What Employers Can Do

There are simple steps that workplaces can take to protect their business and their employees from the harmful effects of UV radiation: 

  • Raise awareness and educate workers on the health effects external link associated with UV radiation both on and off the job 
  • Ensure that UV protective face and eye equipment meets Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standards external link
  • Support the use of shade for staff working outdoors i.e. portable tents, umbrellas etc. 
  • Conduct a UV audit of the workplace 
  • Develop a UV radiation policy for outdoor workers 
  • Display resources that promote UV awareness both on and off the job 
  • Ensure that staff are trained to provide first aid to overexposure to UV radiation 
  • Host a skin screening clinic

Resources

Ontario Forestry Safe Workplace Association
Ultraviolet Radiation in the Workplace external link
Ontario Ministry of Labour

Related Links 

Ultraviolet Radiation external link 
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Outdoor Workers Program external link
Canadian Dermatology Association
Ultraviolet Radiation in the Workplace
Ontario Ministry of Labour
Canadian Daily UV Index Forecast external link
Environment Canada