11:54 am, Tuesday 6 December, 2011
This is according to a report provided by the Cancer Council in Western Australia which says that total compensation claims for skin cancer has increased to $4 million in 2008-2009 from $2 million in 2002-2002. More than 1,300 workers suffering from work-related injuries involving skin cancer claimed compensation between 2001 and 2009.
Cancer Council Australia’s occupational and environmental cancer risk committee chair Terry Slevin said that the findings should alarm employers. Mr. Slevin also said that a significant number of employers are still ignorant of the fact that ultraviolet radiation is an occupational health and safety concern. “The important message for employers is that all of the cost, stress and pain associated with these claims can be avoided.”
“My advice to anyone who employs people to work outdoors is to develop and institute sun-protected policies and procedures as a priority, or be prepared to face the legal and financial consequences down the track.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that more than a third of Australian workers are exposed to direct sunlight while at work. About 200 melanomas, considered as the most deadly form of skin cancer, and 34,000 non-melanoma cancers develop every year due to workers’ exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Mr. Slevin also says that more money is being spent in workers compensation than those spent on public education campaigns about the importance of sun protection.
“That highlights the need for greater investment in skin cancer prevention in Australia, where we still have the highest rates in the world,” said Mr. Slevin.