The Sun Solutions Intervention for Operating Engineers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 Aug;27(8):864-873. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-1023. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Background: Because Operating Engineers (heavy equipment operators) are outdoor workers at risk for skin cancer, interventions are needed to promote sun safety. The objectives were to determine changes in sunscreen use and sunburning among Operating Engineers randomized to four conditions in the Sun Solutions study: (i) education only; (ii) education and text message reminders; (ii) education and mailed sunscreen; and (iv) education, text message reminders, and mailed sunscreen.Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, Operating Engineers (N = 357) were recruited at required safety training sessions throughout Michigan during winter/spring of 2012 to 2013 and provided baseline surveys. The four interventions were delivered over the summer. Postintervention surveys were collected in the fall (82.1% follow-up).Results: Sunscreen use improved significantly from baseline to follow-up in all four conditions (P < 0.05), except sunscreen use among those receiving education and text message reminders was only marginally significant (P = 0.07). There were significantly greater increases in sunscreen use in the two conditions that were mailed sunscreen (P < 0.001). There was a significant decrease in the number of reported sunburns from baseline to follow-up in all four conditions (P < 0.001), but there were no significant differences in sunburns among the groups. Participant evaluated the interventions highly with those who received mailed sunscreen rating the intervention the highest.Conclusions: Providing proper sun-safety education and minimizing barriers to sunscreen use can increase sunscreen use and decrease reported sunburns.Impact: The implementation of the Sun Solutions intervention may be an effective method to modify skin cancer-related behaviors. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 27(8); 864-73. ©2018 AACR.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Construction Industry
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Engineering
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunburn / complications*
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Telecommunications / statistics & numerical data


  • Sunscreening Agents