You may have a 10 times greater chance of Skin Cancer

Greater chance of Skin CancerLast month saw the National Skin Cancer Action week and it’s timely to remind ourselves of the increased risk we face working outdoors:  As bricklayers we are 10 times more likely to suffer skin cancer than indoor workers are.  Two in three Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70 and more than 2,000 people in Australia die from skin cancer each year.

You’ve heard it before but it’s a message worth repeating:  “For the best level of protection against UV damage, protect your skin in five ways”, says SunSmart Manager, Heather Walker:

  1. Slip on covering clothing,

  2. Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen,

  3. Slap on a broad-brimmed hat,

  4. Seek shade, and

  5. Slide on sunglasses.

Some time back we blogged a longer list of 8 common-sense actions a brickie can take to avoid the heat and we reported on a brickie who experienced sunstroke which put him out of action for 3 days putting jobs behind schedule.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main cause of skin cancer. UV damage also causes sunburn, tanning, premature ageing and eye damage.  Your senses cannot detect UV radiation, so you won’t notice the damage until it has been done.  The World Health Organisation’s Global Solar UV Index measures UV levels on a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme).  Sun protection is recommended when UV levels are 3 (Moderate) or higher, which if you check out UV levels you’ll see most Aussie locations reach the very high to extreme level over summer.  Read more on the risks.

SunSmart wants outdoor workers to think more about UV protection and has just launched a new, comprehensive app (here) allowing you to track the UV levels nearest you, at any given time of the day in order to gauge the relative risk level at various times. Note, Compatibility starts at iOS 7.1 or later.  Check out SunSmart’s video explaining how the App works.

Self Employed Contractor/Builder?

If you’re self-employed, not only is it in your best interest to look after yourself and use a combination of sun protection measures but tax deductions are available for sun protection products if you are required to work outside.  Talk to your tax advisor or the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61 or


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