Solar UVR protection: Provincial and territorial occupational sun protection policies

Learn how provincial and territorial governments can reduce exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in outdoor workplaces

Inside this UVR policy pack

Occupational solar UVR protection policies

Issue

Develop UVR protection policies in child care settings, schools, recreational settings for children and adolescents, and workplaces with outdoor workers 1,2,3

Action

Provide leadership through occupational solar UVR protection policy 3,4

Provide solar UVR protection control measures in line with occupational hazard controls (e.g., shade, rescheduling outdoor work programs, providing personal protective equipment – broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses and SPF30 or higher, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, and sun-protective clothing)3

Degree of policy adoption*

LOW

Current action(s) in Canada

No province or territory makes direct mention of sun protection measures in occupational health and safety legislation. Some provinces and territories do include some indirect protection measures within legislation. Examples include:

  • Newfoundland’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations indicate that employers should minimize the potential for injury which is inclusive of occupational disease, including those caused by UVR, which may indirectly provide protection from solar UVR.
  • British Columbia’sOccupational Health and Safety Regulation indicates that eye protection must be worn when working outside if ultraviolet light, glare or blowing ice crystals present a risk of injury to the eyes.
  • Yukon’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulationsrequire employers to provide protection from thermal conditions for outside work including shelters, clothing and limited or modified work schedules.
  • Nova Scotia’s and Saskatchewan’s occupational health and safety legislation include general measures for skin protection, which may indirectly provide protection from solar UV.

All provinces and territories have legislation that requires workplaces to form health and safety committees (dependent on workplace size) and programs to protect workers from hazards they may be exposed to. This provides the opportunity for employers to implement sun protection measures under legal requirements (e.g., sun safety policies and programs).

The federal Canada Labour Code also contains general provisions for all employers to reduce workplace hazards by providing personal protective equipment, clothing devices or materials, which offers additional opportunities for solar UVR protection in all Canadian workplaces.

* Levels of adoption:  Low = very few jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; Medium = some, but not all jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; High = most jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action.


References

1 Cancer Care Ontario (2016). Prevention System Quality Index. Retrieved from: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/statistical-reports/prevention-system-quality-index

2 Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC)/Cancer Care Ontario (CCO). (2017).  Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario: Major workplace carcinogens and prevention of exposure. Retrieved from: http://www.occupationalcancer.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Burden-of-Occupational-Cancer-in-Ontario.pdf

3 SunSmart Victoria. (2015). Policy Statements and Actions. Retrieved from: http://www.sunsmart.com.au/downloads/communities/local-government/suggested-policy-statements.pdf

4 Department of Health (Victoria, Australia). (2012). Skin Cancer Prevention Framework 2013-201. Retrieved from: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/publications/policiesandguidelines/Skin-Cancer-Prevention-Framework-2013-2017