The risk of exposure to solar UV radiation may not be obvious for some workers, for example, vehicle drivers like taxi, bus, truck, delivery and courier services. The accumulated exposure creates a risk to their health and safety. – Stephanie Creagh, Director, Safe Work Australia, 2018.
Glass reduces, but doesn’t block all UV radiation passing through. Damage to your skin can still occur if you spend long periods of time in the car so sun protection is needed if driving for long stretches.
Tips to reduce UV exposure
- Take breaks indoors or in the shade.
- Wear a broad-brim hat that shades your face, neck and ears when out of the vehicle.
- 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 SPF50+ 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 the wheel. Also consider applying 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. Don’t store sunscreen in the glovebox as it will get too hot if kept in the vehicle and not be as effective. 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.
Laminated windscreens, which are made of a tough plastic layer bonded between two panes of glass, have PF (Protection Factor) ratings of 50+. However, the plain window glass used in car side windows is usually about a PF 12, which provides only moderate protection unless clear or tinted film is applied.
A person sitting in a car can still receive significant exposure to UV radiation. Cancer Council recommends:
- employers consider tinting the side and rear windows of work vehicles and that work vehicles have air conditioning so that the side windows remain closed
- people who spend long periods of time in a car without tinting use sun protection (hat, sunglasses, long clothing and sunscreen).
For more information about window tinting, refer to the Cancer Council fact sheet – Tinted windows.
Note: Film and tint applied to car windows must meet state and territory regulations. The Window Film Association of Australia and New Zealand has information on regulations.
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 that highlight the harms associated with UV exposure and ways to reduce risk.
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