What encourages sun protection among outdoor workers from four industries?

J Occup Health. 2014;56(1):62-72. doi: 10.1539/joh.13-0179-oa. Epub 2013 Nov 22.


Objectives: We aimed to identify current practice of sun protection and factors associated with effective use in four outdoor worker industries in Queensland, Australia.

Methods: Workplaces in four industries with a high proportion of outdoor workers (building/construction, rural/farming, local government, and public sector industries) were identified using an online telephone directory, screened for eligibility, and invited to participant via mail (n=15, recruitment rate 37%). A convenience sample of workers were recruited within each workplace (n=162). Workplaces' sun protective policies and procedures were identified using interviews and policy analysis with workplace representatives, and discussion groups and computer-assisted telephone interviews with workers. Personal characteristics and sun protection knowledge, attitudes and behaviors were collated and analysed.

Results: Just over half the workplaces had an existing policy which referred to sun protection (58%), and most provided at least some personal protective equipment (PPE), but few scheduled work outside peak sun hours (43%) or provided skin checks (21%). Several worker and workplace characteristics were associated with greater sun protection behaviour among workers, including having received education on the use of PPE (p<0.001), being concerned about being in the sun (p=0.002); and working in a smaller workplace (p=0.035).

Conclusions: Uptake of sun protection by outdoor workers is affected by a complex interplay of both workplace and personal factors, and there is a need for effective strategies targeting both the workplace environment and workers' knowledge, attitudes and behaviors to decrease harmful sun exposure further.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / standards
  • Construction Industry / standards
  • Female
  • Government Agencies / standards
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health / standards
  • Protective Clothing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Sector / standards
  • Queensland
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Workforce
  • Workplace / standards


  • Sunscreening Agents