At least a third of our time as adults is spent at work, and even more if we count overtime and commutes, making the workplace a massive part of how we live our lives. For most of us these hours will be during the middle of the day, when UV radiation is highest, and risk of exposure to the sun the greatest.
Sun protection is easy to overlook next to the urgencies and stresses of work. Between managing your team, finishing off your own workload and making sure that nothing goes wrong it is understandable that many forget to slip, slop, slap. This makes skin cancer a particular concern for occupational health and safety, and an important part of many professions.
While hardly an extensive list, as there are many professions at risk of dangerous sun exposure, here are some of the workers most vulnerable to developing skin cancer.
Construction workers spend a lot of their time outdoors, often working on roads, scaffolding or even roofs. This exposes them to a heavy dose of UV radiation every day, particularly if they are working between high risk times like 10am and 2pm.
Much like construction workers, agriculture workers are out in the sun more often than not, working for long periods of time under the influence of UV radiation. Aside from the work itself, living out in the countryside might also come with a more outdoor lifestyle, which could compound the amount of radiation that agricultural workers are exposed to at work with what they do in their spare time.
Firefighters, police officers and defence workers
Firefighters, police officers and defence workers are often stationed outdoors, where they can easily interact with people and provide necessary services. However, these professionals might often be walking in and out of sheltered areas like businesses, offices, residences or even the law courts. This means that it can be easy to forget just how much radiation they are exposed to and subsequently protect themselves properly.
Airline workers include the cabin crew and pilots who go up with the airplane and make sure that everything runs smoothly for the passengers. They are often exposed to high altitudes and the higher UV radiation that comes with it, giving them a higher than average risk of developing malignant melanoma.
While a rather surprising entry, some indoor workers might also be at higher risk of developing skin cancer than the average person. While providing a good view and much needed sun during winter, sitting next to a window all day might expose workers to a high amount of UV radiation. Office workers also tend to expose themselves to short and intense bursts of sun on the weekend and while they are on holidays, doubling down on the run they might inadvertently be receiving at work.
Intermittent sunexposure is one of the main risk factors for developing a melanoma. More so because they are inside they often forget that UV exposure might still be dangerous at their work desks, just like it is outdoors.