Project: Irish golf course maintenance workers' awareness and knowledge of the risk of skin cancer associated with outdoor work

Completed but not published

This project was submitted on 03/07/2014

This study examined the awareness and knowledge of skin cancer and solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) among a group of outdoor workers in Ireland and ascertained the current use of sun protection measures in the workplace.

Exposure to sunlight or UVR is an occupational health and safety issue, since UVR is a known carcinogen associated with the development of skin cancer. Occupational UVR exposure relates to the continuous pattern of sun exposure widely experienced by outdoor workers, placing workers at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Members of a golf course maintenance workers' professional association completed a postal questionnaire which collected information on respondents' UVR exposure, their knowledge and awareness of skin cancer and the normal sun protection measures used in the workplace. The response rate was 39%, with 156 of the 400 administered questionnaires returned.

Respondents worked outdoors for an average of 36 hours each week, with over 80% working during the peak sun intensity hours (11am-3pm) each day. Knowledge and awareness of skin cancer was low, with almost 60% of respondents only knowing 'a little' about the disease. Only 10% of workplaces provided employees with UVR exposure information, while just 7% had sun exposure risk assessments in place. Almost one fifth (22%) of employers did not provide any sun protection measures to employees. Despite this, multiple sun protection measures were widely used by respondents, although the frequency of sunscreen use was low among some respondents.

In conclusion, this study highlighted a knowledge and awareness deficit in the workplace in relation to skin cancer, UVR exposure and use of protective measures. While the general use of multiple protection measures was encouraging, the provision of targeted educational and training materials for both employers and employees could result in the development of more robust sun protection policies in the workplace.

Skin at work, Working Conditions
Entertainment and Leisure

Organisation: University College Dublin - UCD

Dublin 4,
+353 1 716 7777

Principal Investigator: Barry McElroy

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Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
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