Do employers have an obligation to protect their employees from the sun?

We’ve enjoyed a long spell of good weather in 2018, with the Met Office announcing the joint hottest summer on record.

However, employers need to take note and remind themselves of their obligation to look after their employees by protecting them from exposure to sunlight. Regular daily exposure to sunlight without protection for employees can lead to injury. Sunlight can burn the skin and is a known carcinogen, so there is a clear foreseeable risk of injury to employees working in sunlight and the outdoors.  

According to consultants that treat skin cancer, a significant number of skin cancers are caused by regular and repeated exposure to the sun. From our investigations, employees at risk of work-related skin cancer may include:

  • Roofers
  • Groundsmen/gardeners
  • Merchant seamen

Employers have a duty of care to protect their employees from suffering a preventable injury from their employment. In the case of outdoor workers, employers should:

  • Educate their employees about the risk of repeated exposure to sunlight
  • Provide clothing to protect employees’ arms, head and face
  • Provide and encourage the use of sun cream in strong sunlight
  • Offer periodic health surveillance (which may detect early signs of skin cancer)

If you’d like to discuss any of the above issues with a member of our team, please call 0117 325 8285 or email occupational.disease@emsleys.co.uk.

Phillip Gower

Written by

Phillip Gower

Partner

Phillip joined Emsleys in July 2018 to open the Cardiff office. He has over 20 years' expertise of acting for claimants in Personal Injury and Industrial Disease Litigation. Phillip is an APIL accredited Asbestos Specialist and Occupational Disease Specialist and is an assessor for the accreditation...

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