A NEW report into the sunsafe behaviour of Australian workers highlights an increasing need for better educating outdoor workers on the dangers of skin cancer.
Amazingly over 50 per cent of outdoor workers have never had a proper skin check!
The primary causes of skin cancer have been shown to be excessive exposure to sunlight and hereditary predisposition.
Having surveyed over 15,000 Australian workers and professional sportspeople, Skin Patrol, Australia’s leading provider of workplace skin checks and skin cancer education, has found that the sun safe message often falls on deaf ears, particularly in Australian workplaces.
Some of the key trends uncovered by Skin Patrol include: Over 60% of workers had never had a skin check, yet an alarming 73% attended a Skin Patrol workplace clinic as they were worried about the condition of their skin or a specific spot; Skin Patrol found an incidence of melanoma among outdoor workers over three times the national average; 34% of all workers seen were diagnosed with severe sun damage; 65% of workers diagnosed with life threatening melanoma did not intend to have a skin check were it not for Skin Patrol’s onsite clinic.
It’s not just your everyday outdoor worker that is at risk of skin cancer, members of the Australian cricket team also understand the need to be pro-active in monitoring the effects of sun exposure.
Team members are regularly checked by Skin Patrol which also provides cricketers with pertinent advice about how to limit the suns harmful rays.
Ben Smith, National Career and Welfare Manager, from the Australian Cricketers Association says: “The ACA has been working with Skin Patrol for the last two years to provide much needed education and skin cancer checks to our current and past player members.
“As a result of early detection and the efficient services provided by Skin Patrol a number of our members have averted potentially serious health risks.”
Skin Patrol’s Program Director, Skye Lovell, believes companies need to consider different ways of communicating the importance of sun safety to their workforces.
She says that “despite years of aggressive skin cancer campaigning, many Australians remain poorly educated about the various forms of skin cancer, the early warning signs and how to effectively self-examine.”
“Providing relevant skin cancer education tailored to an individual’s skin damage and lifestyle is the best way to drive the skin cancer message home” she says.
“There is no point trying to scare people into action, education must be relevant and engaging”.
Skin Patrol has a proven track record of making positive behavioural changes among its customers across Australia.
An integral part of protecting workers and complying with Occupational Health and Safety guidelines is to provide them with sun safe clothing and sunscreen and ensure they are properly used.
Skye Lovell says Skin Patrol research shows that even in companies where sunscreen is provided, it is rarely used effectively.
A major Skin Patrol initiative this summer is to get companies to provide workers with a personalised sunscreen kit that is lightweight, portable and provides a constant reminder to cover up.
Another key recommendation by Skin Patrol for the summer ahead is to provide specific advice about how to self check for skin cancer.
Lovell believes “many companies don’t provide education on the types of skin cancer or self checking because they don’t feel adequately equipped to do so. We have developed a range of training tools and presentations to assist with getting the right messages to workers.”
Skin Patrol provides skin checks & one-on-one education to thousands of workers in a broad range of industries across Australia.
Unlike traditional skin clinics Skin Patrol derives no financial incentive from recommending skin cancer excisions or treatment.
The company developed the world’s first mobile skin check program that involves teledermatology, a process that enables patients, including those in remote communities, access to diagnosis by a dermatologist.
Skin Patrol patients initially have their suspicious lesions reviewed in person by a general practitioner and if there are concerns, these are referred to one of Australia’s most respected dermatologists, Dr Martin Haskett. Dr Haskett says “Skin Patrol delivers a world class service that focuses on expert medical diagnosis and comprehensive worker education”.
Skin Patrol provides specific skin cancer industry reports such as mining and infrastructure as well as a general outdoor worker report to any company interested in providing skin checks or workplace education.