Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Workers' UV exposure high

Cancer Council Victoria data shows thousands of Shepparton workers exposed to sun.

CHLOE WARBURTON February 12, 2014 4:44am

Greater Shepparton City Council worker Albert ''Bluey'' Johnson.

New data shows Shepparton has one of the largest number of workers in industries with high exposure to ultraviolet radiation outside of Melbourne.

Cancer Council Victoria SunSmart manager Sue Heward said data showed there were more than 3300 workers in Shepparton in industries where exposure to excessive amounts of harmful UV radiation was common.

‘‘Many of these workers will further increase their exposure on weekends, by spending time outside at the beach, at sportsgrounds and parks or in their backyards. We are urging employers in Shepparton to think about what steps they can take to protect their employees from the harmful effects of the sun,’’ she said.

‘‘Victorian health and safety legislation requires employers, so far as practical, to provide and maintain a working environment that ensures the health and safety of all workers. As part of this, employers should consider the risks associated with overexposure to UV for their employees.’’

Greater Shepparton City Council people performance manager Virginia Boyd said staff from various departments took part in SunSmart workplace education sessions last year.

‘‘Council and staff would recommend businesses and organisations, particularly those in regional areas with outdoor workers, consider the program as a way of educating workers about UV protection in the workplace,’’ she said.

‘‘If you have employees who spend any time outdoors during working hours, it is your responsibility to take proper steps to reduce their risk of skin cancer. These sessions are an excellent way of doing this.’’

Council occupational health and safety advisor Brian Doyle said all staff at the council must follow the working-in-extreme-weather procedure.

Daily UV alert boards were also updated, skin check appointments scheduled at certain times of the year for staff and contractors, and staff also had adequate access to cool drinking water.

Tasks and their timing were also taken into consideration on days of expected extreme weather.

‘‘We take UV procedures seriously here at council — it is all about the wellbeing of staff, not only for the short-term, but the long-term,’’ Mr Doyle said.

To book a SunSmart workplace education session, visit or contact Emma White on 95146419 or visit

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