Getting tough about construction site safety

Saturday, 29 March, 2003

Recently released research by WorkSafe Victoria and SunSmart shows there is a need to 'get tough' to improve the sun protection practices of outdoor workers and the building and construction industry.

The studies show building and construction workers are on average exposed to five times the maximum recommended exposure limits for UV radiation. They are also worst when it comes to being 'sun smart' on the job.

WorkSafe director John Merritt said it has long been known that UV radiation can have serious effects on the body.

"Its time that the construction industry improves its practices in line with other outdoor worker sectors," Merritt said.

"This is a long-term issue. WorkSafe and the industry will work together to ensure that on construction sites there is adequate sun protection in the form of shade, the provision of protective clothing and sunscreen."

Merritt said that "if there is a potential for a worker to sustain injury, then there is a potential for WorkSafe inspectors to take action and we will."

A SunSmart survey of 100 major companies that employed outdoor workers in Victoria found one-fifth had received compensation claims from employees relating to skin cancer or sun damage.

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