Employers and Sun Protection Programs

We recommend employers of outdoor workers develop a formal sun protection program for their employees in order to promote a safe work environment.

In 1992, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor wrote an interpretation to their Personal Protective Equipment Standard 1910.132(a) stating that employers have a duty to protect workers who are overexposed to solar radiation on the job and risk serious physical harm or death.

State Courts and Workers' Compensation Boards have also become more conscious of work-related skin cancer over the past decade. In many states, compensation has been awarded to employees who have been diagnosed with skin cancer and have been able to prove that it was caused by work-related activities. Here are some examples.

A limousine chauffeur developed squamous cell carcinoma. In 1992, the Supreme Court in New York concluded that there was a casual relationship between the worker's employment and the development of skin cancer and benefits were awarded.

A field observer for an architectural construction company developed malignant melanoma. Despite treatment, the melanoma metastasized and the individual died. In 1999, the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission found that the melanoma was caused by his employment and affirmed compensation.

A construction worker developed basal cell carcinoma and

in 1999 was awarded medical expenses by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board.

In addition, state legislatures are starting to acknowledge the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer. In California, for example, Labor Code 3212.11 now states that skin cancer developed or manifested by lifeguards is an injury for the purposes of compensation and is presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment. (California has also responded to the need to protect school children from the sun - California SB 310 and 1632 allows sun protective clothing, including hats, to be worn in schools and for children to wear sunscreen without a physician's note).

Coolibar can provide your organization with the products needed for an effective sun protection program for your outdoor workers. For information about sun protection in the workplace in America, read The Sun, Another Construction Site Hazard by Kathleen M. Conlan, MS. For additional resources, visit SunSmart Australia Sun Protection in the Workplace. To learn more about the history of sun protection programs for workers in Australia, go here.

For more information, please contact John Barrow on 1-952-922-1445 or email jbarrow@coolibar.com.