Solar Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR)

Policy

Category: Health and Safety
Subject: Solar Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR)
Division: N/A
Policy Number: CA.56.01.123 
Effective Date: March 25, 2013

POLICY STATEMENT

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is committed to the health and safety of its workers. This commitment includes protecting employees from the adverse effects[1] associated with prolonged solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure.  This policy applies to every division, program, Manager, and employee where outdoor work or work assignments are, or may be required as part of their job duties.  For example, Public Health Inspectors who are required to collect water or soil samples, and Public Health Nurses, Health Promotion Specialists and Dietitians who participate in outdoor community events (e.g. display booths, campaigns, launches).

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Raise employees’ awareness of the risks associated with exposure to solar UVR;
  • Raise employees’ awareness of the guidelines for sun safe behavior and to support their adoption at work;
  • Define the responsibilities of the employer and employee in implementing/supporting and maintaining the policy; and
  • Assist in the protection of employees from solar UVR.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all WDGPH employees including volunteers, students and contractual.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Senior Management will:
  • Ensure that Managers and employees are aware of and follow the policy guidelines;
  • Encourage sun protection behaviours by all employees at WDGPH;
  • Review and update the policy as required to meet the safety needs of WDGPH; and
  • Maintain up to date health information accessible to all employees.
Managers will:
  • Identify all outdoor work activities where there is a risk of prolonged solar UVR exposure;
  • Inform employees of jobs that have the potential for prolonged solar UVR exposure and confirm they have reviewed the policy on solar UVR;
  • Ensure employees are aware of the risks of prolonged solar UVR and know how to protect themselves by reviewing the sun safety information on extranet including the link to the UV Index;
  • Encourage sun protection behaviours by employees in the program; and
  • Review any related CA.30.01.102  Accident/Near Miss Report Forms and take appropriate action when required.
Employees will:
  • Review the sun safety information on extranet to become aware of the risks of prolonged solar UVR exposure;
  • Review the sun protection behaviours listed in this policy;
  • Practice sun protection behaviours during work hours; and
  • Complete a CA.30.01.102 Accident/Near Miss Report Form if a sun-related injury has incurred.

SUN PROTECTION BEHAVIOURS

Exposure to solar UVR cannot be avoided completely, nor is that desirable given the benefits of moderate sun exposure (e.g. vitamin D synthesis).  However, the following sun protection behaviours are recommended for employees working for a prolonged period of time outdoors to reduce their risks:

  • Check the UV Index from extranet before heading out – additional precautions should be taken when the value is six or greater;
  • Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 on the face, hands, and other exposed areas – even when it’s overcast;
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers the face, neck, and ears – even when it’s overcast;
  • Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays when it’s sunny;
  • Wear loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts with a collar and long pants when possible; and
  • Apply lip balm with a minimum SPF 30.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Procedure: N/A
CA.30.01.102 Accident/Near Miss Report Form

APPROVED BY

Carole Desmeules