Agricultural, farming & horticultural workers

The Australian Work Exposure Study: Carcinogen Exposure in the Agriculture Industry, conducted by Safe Work Australia, found 99% of agriculture workers were exposed to UV radiation, yet only 10% were considered to be adequately protected with the use of shade, clothing, a hat and sunscreen.

Tips to reduce UV exposure

  • Identify any photosensitising substances and be mindful of these.
  • Consider different UV reflective surfaces around the workplace (e.g. soil and clay reflect more UV than grass).
  • Plan work so that outdoor tasks are scheduled earlier in the morning or later in the day to avoid peak UV periods.
  • Take breaks indoors or in the shade.
  • Move jobs indoors or into shaded areas where possible.
  • Erect temporary shade wherever possible.
  • Wear a broad-brim hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
  • Wear a loose-fitting shirt with a collar and longer sleeves and long trousers made from UFP50+ material. Choose one made from breathable fabric (e.g. cotton) to allow good ventilation.
  • Wear gloves to protect the back of your hands.
  • Apply SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if perspiring. Try a non-greasy formula so you can keep a grip on your tools. Also consider applying SPF30 (or higher) lip balm.
  • Keep sunscreen in your lunch cooler so it is stored below 30 degrees as recommended. It will also be cool to apply on hot days. Check the expiry date.
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses (AS/NZS 1067 or with an EPF of 9 or 10).
  • Consider window tinting for the side windows of vehicles to help reduce UV.

Common substances that cause photosensitivity

  • Bergamot
  • Bind weed
  • Buttercup
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Fig
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • St John's wort

Source: Safe Work Australia, 2019,  Guide on Exposure to Solar Ultraviolet radiation (UVR)

Book a UV safety training session for your workplace

Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Do your workers know how to protect themselves from UV and lower their risk of skin cancer? Our experienced educators deliver training sessions tailored to your setting that highlight the harms associated with UV exposure and ways to reduce risk.

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Watch Ron's story

Gardener Ron shares his experience of living with melanoma. Watch more real stories from outdoor workers and other Australians living with skin cancer.

Ron's story