Sun protection policies for sports groups

Sport is an important and essential part of Australian culture. However athletes, officials, coaches and spectators often spend prolonged periods of time outdoors participating. Too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can lead to sun damage, sunburn and skin cancer. And the more you’re exposed, the greater your risk. Sports groups should encourage use of the five forms of sun protection (Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide) to help protect those involved all year round.

Safety and responsibility to participants

Organisations conducting sport and recreation have a duty of care and legal responsibility to ensure a safe environment for all involved. Providing a safe environment includes protecting people from the sun’s UV radiation and ensuring participants are aware of the need to protect their skin wherever practicable.

We recommend development of a sun protection policy or clear guidelines clarifying how your organisation will help minimise the risk of overexposure to UV for participants.

Sun protection policy

A sun protection policy should consider schedules, fixture and rules in light of sun protection times, and advise key sun protection measures designed to keep participants safe.

We can help sports clubs to develop and promote a sun protection policy or guidelines. Use our sample SunSmart Sports Policy as a starting point.

Sun protection policy tips

A good sun protection policy should:

  • provide or encourage participants and officials to wear sun-protective clothing (as part of the team uniform and during training sessions) that covers as much skin as possible
  • promote the use of SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. If possible, consider having a supply onsite
  • promote use of the sun protection times by adding the SunSmart widget onto the club website and encouraging use of the free SunSmart app
  • schedule training times, competitions and outdoor events outside the daily sun protection times when possible – especially those scheduled for the middle of the day (when UV is strongest)
  • promote sun protection habits/practices during the course of all games, training sessions and events
  • plan and provide shade at training and events, and encourage players and spectators to take advantage of shade from buildings and trees
  • encourage players and spectators to come to events with sunscreen, clothing, shade, hats and sunglasses
  • encourage club leaders, coaches and club officials to be sun protection role models.