As we celebrated the skin cancer awareness week last week, it is a timely reminder of the dangers that outdoor workers face in the course of their employment.
The current generation has a huge advantage over previous generations as the dangers of exposure to the harsh, unrelenting Australian sun are now well-known.
We are regularly confronted with stories of people, young and old alike, who have developed malignant melanomas from sun exposure, whether due to recreational, work or other activities pursued outdoors.
For the outdoor worker, there are very real risks that ongoing sun exposure may lead to significant illness, such as skin cancer.
There is a general obligation, both pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (WA) and the general law, for employers to provide a safe place and safe system of work. Arguably, in the case of outdoor workers, this would extend to the provision of suitable PPE or personal protective equipment to ensure that workers exposed to the sun in the course of their employment, are able to protect themselves from its harsh effects.
At the very least, it is arguable that an employer should educate its workers on the dangers of sun exposure and ensure that they are regularly reminded to protect themselves with hats, long–sleeved and long pants clothing and sunscreen when working in the outside elements.
In some cases where it can be established that it is more likely than not that exposure to the sun in the course of one’s employment has caused or contributed to a dangerous or life–threatening skin condition, they may be able to pursue compensation either through the workers’ compensation or common law systems.
For specific advice on the issue, please contact BRADFORD LEGAL.