Head of SunSmart, Heather Walker, discusses the importance of reducing students’ UV exposure in Victorian secondary schools.
Almost all Victorian early childhood services (97%) and primary schools (90%) have a written sun protection policy. We recommend all secondary schools continue their duty of care to protect students from foreseeable harm by adopting comprehensive, sun protection policies to protect teens during these critical years.
Secondary schools can play a leading role in sun protection for adolescents by:
- building on the positive sun protection behaviours and attitudes learnt through early education years
- protecting adolescents during peak UV periods of the day
- influencing sun protection behaviours through education and role modelling
- meeting OHS requirements to protect your staff.
Please contact us for advice, or apply for free SunSmart membership where you’ll be supported to meet your regulatory requirements and provided access to important training, information and resources relating to sun protection.
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When is sun protection required?
SunSmart recommends that schools implement a comprehensive sun protection policy when UV levels reach 3 or higher. In Victoria, this typically occurs from mid-August to the end of April. You can use the free SunSmart app to determine when UV levels are forecast to reach 3 or higher for your location each day.
Please note: Some people (such as transplant recipient patients, people with compromised immune systems and genetic skin cancer risk) are at high risk of skin cancer and may require additional sun protection and early detection strategies specific to their health needs. Please consult your doctor for specific health advice.
Duty of care
All school staff owe a duty of care in relation to their students, meaning they must take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of foreseeable harm. As UV radiation is a recognised health and safety risk, and students are at school during peak UV periods of the day, schools should implement strategies to reduce UV exposure. By having comprehensive sun protection policies and practices in place, schools can help mitigate the risks of UV exposure.
Developing a sun protection policy
A comprehensive sun protection policy provides clear, evidence-based guidelines to address sun protective behaviours, environments and learning to minimise UV exposure and skin cancer risk.
Use SunSmart’s sample policy for secondary schools to help with the development of your own sun protection policy.
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A SunSmart policy provides clear, evidence-based guidelines that help to minimise UV exposure and skin cancer risk.
Whether your child is 6 months or 16 years, sun protection remains important.
We have a range of resources to help teachers bring skin cancer and sun protection education into their classrooms.
We've developed some posters to help bring the sun protection education to life.