Schools can reduce students' (and workers) solar ultraviolet radiation exposure and risk of skin cancer because:
- students are at school when UV radiation levels are at their highest (ie 10am-3pm)
- schools are an appropriate place to teach and promote healthy sun protection behaviour
- schools, in partnership with families and their communities, can help reduce UV radiation exposure and change behaviour through policy, education and role modelling
- schools can provide effective shade areas for students and workers
Duty of care
Schools have a responsibility to implement skin cancer prevention strategies for student and staff health. The ACT Education and Training Directorate encourage all ACT primary schools to join the National SunSmart Schools Program.
Students: Duty of care refers to the need to protect students against foreseeable harm. Sunburn is a foreseeable outcome of over-exposure to solar UV radiation.Sun exposure in the first 18 years of life contributes significantly to the lifetime risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. Legal action has occurred in some states because students were sunburnt during all-day events and excursions.
Workers: Occupational UV Exposure is also a serious Work Health and Safety (WH&S) issue for all workers who are required to spend all or part of their working day outdoors. Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, all persons undertaking a business or undertaking (PCBUs) have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their workers. Similarly, workers have a responsibility to adopt protective measures introduced by their employer to maintain a safe workplace.This includes working safely under the sun.
Teachers and staff may also be able to claim sun protection related expenses on their income tax. For more information contact the Australian Taxation Office on 13 2861(employees) or 132866 (for businesses) or visit ato.gov.au
(Thank you to Turner and Yarralumla Primary Schools for permission to use the above media photographs)