Employers should treat protective sun cream like any other form of PPE, says safety firm Arco, as research revealed that only half of outdoor workers apply UV protective products.

Commissioned by Deb to highlight workers’ attitudes to sun safety, the study comes as Arco launches its annual Sun Awareness Safety Campaign which educates employers about the danger of UV rays and the steps they can take to protect outdoor workers.

Legally, employers have a duty of care to protect employees from hazards in the workplace and, according to HSE guidelines, UV radiation from the sun should be considered a hazard for people who work outdoors.

Although all those surveyed were aware of the dangers posed by the sun’s UV rays; support and education from employers seemed lacking. The study showed that:

  • Only 5% of workers have UV cream provided by their employers

  • 83% of workers would buy their own cream

  • 93% of workers have not had training into the dangers of UV.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK1 and outdoor workers have a higher than average risk of developing the disease, yet through more awareness the risk can be controlled. Arco, therefore is strongly encouraging businesses to ensure UV protection is readily available for workers this summer.

Darren Williamson, Product & Procurement Management at Arco said: “With 90% of deaths from skin cancer preventable [according to Cancer Research UK], we’ve developed a suite of online information to help workers and employers understand the dangers and how to protect themselves. On our dedicated web page, you will find tool-box talks, best-practice expert guides and videos showing the attitudes of workers and their families to working safely in the sun. These five videos are essential viewing for any employer.

"I urge employers to use sun cream with the same attitude as any other piece of PPE. Applying protective UV products while working outdoors is vital but often overlooked.”

For more information about Arco’s Sun Protection campaign, please visit www.arco.co.uk/sunsafety