Employers in the UK could find themselves facing legal action if they do not sufficiently protect their employees from skin damage caused by working for prolonged periods in the sun.
The news comes after a significant case in Australia where an employer was found liable for damages when employees who developed skin cancer after working long hours in the sun sued their employer for not providing them with adequate protection. This suggests worrying consequences for employers who do not take the protection of the skin health of their staff seriously.
Although not generally considered to be a major concern in the workplace, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK to date and there are almost 100,000 cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year.
Richard Biggs, an associate from law firm Ralli, said: “Under health and safety law, every employer should make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the health and safety risks for employees at work and also guard against specific risks to their employees.”
Although the great British summer does not reach the dizzying temperatures of Australia, the UK sun is still potentially damaging especially to those who are exposed to it regularly for long periods of time.
There are many simple ways in which protection from the sun can be implemented in the workplace, such as providing staff with appropriate sun screen and protective clothing if necessary.
Another effective way of enforcing sun protection is through providing employees with training about the dangers of UV radiation and the importance of skin protection.