Staying sun smart on site this summer
01 Dec 2022
Today marks the beginning of summer in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and many of us will welcome the warmer weather with open arms.
But the seasonal change also brings some added health and safety risks for those working onsite during the summer months.
These can be easy to overlook, but those who don’t take these risks seriously can pay the ultimate price.
Skin cancer, mostly caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays (UV), is the most common cancer in New Zealand with more than 80,000 Kiwis getting it each year, according to the Cancer Society.
Melanoma NZ says, that about 80 per cent of all skin cancer deaths can be attributed to Melanoma, which, unfortunately, New Zealand holds the highest incidence rate in the world.
Each year, about 6000 people in New Zealand are diagnosed with the deadly cancer and more than 350 of them will die, which is higher than those killed annually on New Zealand roads.
The need to be mindful of the risks associated with summer has never been more present with weather experts predicting this summer to come with scorching temperatures and dry spells.
According to Niwa’s latest seasonal climate outlook, temperatures are predicted to sit above average across much of the country over the summer and there was a chance of a dry spell from mid-December to early January.
With this in mind, Site Safe has a long list of practical safety advice available on the website to help with following the best workplace health and safety measures in a multitude of situations.
Our guides to working in summer and how to be sun safe offer some top tips on how to best manage Sun (UV) exposure, dehydration, fatigue and helps with noticing the warning signs you’re succumbing to heat stress or exhaustion.
You’ll also find our summer safety poster which can be downloaded for free for your workplace.
Site Safe members also have exclusive access to our Working in Summer toolbox talk, which identifies hazards, symptoms and signs, and specific controls to best manage these risks. You can access them here: https://www.sitesafe.org.nz/member/member-features/toolbox-talks/
The Cancer Society and WorkSafe NZ also have some useful resources and safety tips on being sun smart and working safely in extreme temperatures. They can be found at: https://www.sunsmart.org.nz/be-sunsmart/ and https://www.worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/temperature-at-work/working-safely-in-extreme-temperatures-gpg