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New website helps Canadians work safely in the sun

Ryerson researcher leads team in developing new sun safety programs

Thomas Tenkate is the Director of the School of Occupational and Public Health. Photo: Riley Stewart.

Thomas Tenkate is the Director of the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University and Project Lead for Sun Safety at Work Canada. Photo: Riley Stewart.

Today, Sun Safety at Work Canada (SSAWC), a Ryerson University-led national research project, is launching sunsafetyatwork.ca, supporting workplaces in helping protect their employees from the dangers of sun exposure.

Developed with the support of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and a coalition of other partners, the new website supports the development of a sun safety program as part of an occupational health and safety management system.  More than 70 free resources on sun safety including tip sheets, comprehensive protocols and a resource library are available on the website. A range of resources are also available in French, with Spanish and Punjabi versions to come.

According to CAREX Canada, approximately 1.5 million Canadians are exposed to sun at work. The largest industrial groups exposed to the sun in Canada are construction, farming, and building care and maintenance. Outdoor workers have up to a 3.5 times greater risk of skin cancer than indoor workers – and at least 5,000 skin cancer diagnoses each year are attributed to occupational sun exposure.

“Sun exposure is a serious occupational hazard. It is the leading cause of skin cancer and can cause other health issues including sunburn, cataracts, skin and eye damage, and heat stress,” says Dr. Thomas Tenkate, Project Lead and Director of the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University.

“The good news is that the health outcomes from sun exposure are largely preventable, but not all employers have the resources to put in place a sun safety program. We developed a six-step process to help workplaces build their own program and made all supporting materials readily accessible on sunsafetyatwork.ca.”

The SSAWC project included partnering with 17 workplaces across Canada to help develop sun safety programs. The learnings from these workplaces as well as a review of best practices from Canada and other countries were the foundation for the website. The full list of contributors is available at sunsafetyatwork.ca/about-us.

Sun Safety at Work Canada (SSAWC) is enhancing sun safety for Canadian workplaces. The sun is a workplace hazard that can cause skin cancer, heat stress and eye damage. These conditions are preventable. Applying sun safety at workplaces can be challenging. The purpose of Sun Safety at Work Canada is to raise awareness of the importance of sun safety and to help workplaces implement sun safety programs within their existing occupational health and safety management systems. Sun Safety at Work Canada is funded through the Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP) initiative through financial support from Health Canada through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 38,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 155,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca

MEDIA CONTACT:

Zandra Alexander
Public Affairs
Ryerson University
416.979.5000 x 4282
Zandra.alexander@ryerson.ca

 

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