Melanoma survivor helps Phillip Island Nature Parks get SunSmart for Victorian Health and Safety Week

Thursday 23 October, 2014

Phillip Island Nature Parks is placing a priority on sun protection for outdoor workers as part of the Victorian WorkCover Authority’s Health and Safety Week (20–31 October).

It is estimated that around 200 melanomas and 34,000 non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia are caused by occupational exposures to ultraviolet (UV) radiation every year.[i] On average 20 melanomas are diagnosed each year in Bass Coast Shire.[ii]

Phillip Island Nature Parks’ employees were today joined by melanoma survivor and SunSmart Workplace educator Rebecca Tripp, where they heard about Rebecca’s skin cancer experience and why sun protection is important in the workplace.

“Rebecca’s story is powerful and it definitely makes you stand up and take notice when you hear about someone so young being diagnosed with melanoma due to spending long periods of time out in the sun,” Penguin Researcher Leanne Renwick said.

“We would recommend the SunSmart Workplace Education program to any business that has outdoor workers. It’s a good opportunity for employers to provide their workers with more training so they can understand the importance of protecting themselves from UV in the workplace.”

The interactive sessions cover a range of topics including understanding skin cancer and UV, health and safety, how to create a SunSmart workplace, prevention and early detection of skin cancer and vitamin D.

“It’s great to see that Phillip Island Nature Parks is taking practical steps to protect their employees from UV and we would encourage other workplaces to do the same,” SunSmart Manager Sue Heward said.

“In Victoria, Occupational Health and Safety legislation mandates that all employers should take steps to reduce the known health risks with occupational exposure to UV from the sun.

“A recent study revealed that although 95 per cent of Australian outdoor workers currently use some form of sun protection, just nine per cent are considered to be fully protected from UV.[iii] Skin cancer is a serious health risk for outdoor workers, and this research shows that there is still work to be done to fully protect workers.”

The cost of a one-hour SunSmart Workplace Education Program session is $500. Sessions held outside the Melbourne metropolitan area incur additional charges. SunSmart also offers additional free resources for workplaces which include information sheets and brochures on how to protect employees from UV radiation from the sun.

For more information or to book a Workplace Education session visit or email

[i] Fritschi L, Driscoll T. Cancer due to occupation in Australia. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2006; 30(3): 213–9.

[ii] Victorian cancer incidence by Local Government Area, Victorian Cancer Registry, Cancer Council Victoria

[iii] Carey RN, Glass DC, Peters S, Reid A, Benke G, Driscoll TR, Fritschi L. Occupational exposure to solar radiation in Australia: who is exposed and what protection do they use? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2014; 38(1): 54–9.

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