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New website helps Canadians work safely in the sun

| www.cos-mag.com

Sun Safety at Work Canada (SSAWC), a Ryerson University-led national research project, is launching sunsafetyatwork.ca supporting workplaces in helping protect their employees from the dangers of sun exposure.

Developed with the support of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and a coalition of other partners, the new website supports the development of a sun safety program as part of an occupational health and safety management system. More than 70 free resources on sun safety including tip sheets, comprehensive protocols and a resource library are available on the website. A range of resources are also available in French, with Spanish and Punjabi versions to come.

According to CAREX Canada, about 1.5 million Canadians are exposed to sun at work. The largest industrial groups exposed to the sun in Canada are construction, farming, and building care and maintenance. Outdoor workers have up to a 3.5 times greater risk of skin cancer than indoor workers – and at least 5,000 skin cancer diagnoses each year are attributed to occupational sun exposure.

“Sun exposure is a serious occupational hazard. It is the leading cause of skin cancer and can cause other health issues including sunburn, cataracts, skin and eye damage, and heat stress,” said Thomas Tenkate, project lead and director of the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University.

“The good news is that the health outcomes from sun exposure are largely preventable, but not all employers have the resources to put in place a sun safety program. We developed a six-step process to help workplaces build their own program and made all supporting materials readily accessible on sunsafetyatwork.ca.”

The SSAWC project included partnering with 17 workplaces across Canada to help develop sun safety programs.The learnings from these workplaces as well as a review of best practices from Canada and other countries were the foundation for the website.

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