Marine & fishery workers

Fishing and marine workers typically have high levels of occupational UV radiation exposure. Being outdoors for prolonged periods of time increases your risk of UV damage and skin cancer. Marine and fishery workers not only receive UV directly from the sun but it is also reflected off different surfaces, increasing overall UV exposure. 

Surface

UV reflectance (%)

Surf

20–30%

Open ocean

8%

Salt lake

69%

Beach sand (dry)

4.2–18%

Beach sand (wet)

2.4–7%

Sand (freshwater)

7.1–30%

Lake side water 2.7–4.8%
River side water 3%
Boat deck, wood – fibreglass 6.6–9.1%
Wooden boards (dock) 4.4–7%

Source: Sliney 1986; Turner, Parisi 2018

And the exposure is cumulative. The more UV you get, the greater your risk of skin cancer. Sun protection should be used all year round when working outdoors.

Tips to reduce UV exposure

  • Consider different UV reflective surfaces around the workplace (see the table above).
  • 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 longer sleeves and a collar and long trousers made from UFP50+ material. Choose one made from breathable fabric (e.g. cotton) to allow good ventilation.
  • Apply SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen every two hours. Sunscreen is water-resistant not waterproof so more frequent reapplication may be required. Try a non-greasy formula so you can keep a grip on your tools. Also consider applying an SPF30 (or higher) lip balm.
  • Keep sunscreen in your lunch cooler so it is stored below 30 degrees. 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 marine vessels and the side windows of vehicles to help reduce UV.

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.

Book a training session