Sample UV Protection Policy for ACT Schools

SSschoolcolourACT schools are welcome to copy and adopt this sample UV Protection Policy and use it as their own or incorporate all of the main points into their own UV protection policy and procedures. Be sure to promote your new policy among all staff, teachers, parents and students and make it easy for your school community to access via your website. You may also choose to view the ACT Government - Education Directorate's Sun (UV) Protection Policy For Students (2015).

{school name} UV Protection Policy

(date last updated)

This policy is considered before participating in all outdoor activities and events on and off site. A combination of sun protection measures will be required when UV levels reach 3 and above. In Canberra this will be for most or part of each day between August and May.


It’s important to have a healthy balance of ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure. Too much of the sun’s UV can cause sunburn, skin and eye damage and skin cancer. Overexposure to UV during childhood and adolescence is a major factor in determining future skin cancer risk. However, too little UV from the sun can lead to low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and muscles, and for general health.


This UV Protection policy has been developed to:

  • ensure all students and workers have a balanced approach to sun protection;
  • require all students and workers to use a combination of sun protection measures whenever UV Index levels reach 3 and above;
  • work towards a safe outdoor environment that provides effective shade for students and workers at appropriate times;
  • assist students to be responsible for their own sun protection behaviour, and
  • ensure that families and new staff are informed of the school’s current policy and practices around UV protection.

Teachers and staff are encouraged to access daily sun protection times for Canberra via the SunSmart App and or Widget to assist with the implementation of this policy.

Students and staff will be required to use combination of the below sun protection measures for all outdoor activities and events whenever UV levels reach 3 and above, the level that can cause long term damage to unprotected skin.

In the ACT the following rule applies

Beginning of August is Hats On again for all of us!
End of May is Hats Off day!

1. Shade

  • our school board and members makes sure there is a sufficient number of shelters and trees providing shade in the outdoor area;
  • our school will maintain and/or increase shade provision in school grounds for future generations, this includes the planting of shade trees;
  • the availability of shade is considered when planning excursions and all other outdoor activities and events;
  • students are encouraged and directed to use available areas of shade when outside, especially during Term 1 and 4; and
  • students who do not wear an appropriate hat or clothing are directed to play in the shade or a suitable area protected from the sun.

2. Clothing

  • students and workers are required to wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Clothing made from cool, densely woven fabric is recommended. Tops with elbow length sleeves (longer the better), collars and knee length or longer style shorts and skirts are best. Students will be required to wear at least a t-shirt (or a rash style vest) if participating in all day outdoor swimming carnivals, and
  • the school uniform/dress code, including sports and PE incorporates UV protection elements.

3. Hats

  • all students and workers are required to wear hats that protect their face, neck and ears from UV, i.e. legionnaire, broad-brimmed min 7.5 cm (6 cm brim for students) or bucket hat (with a deep crown) 6 cm (min 5 cm for students). (Baseball or peak caps are not considered a suitable alternative and will not be worn).

4. Sunglasses [SUGGESTED]

  • students who choose to wear sunglasses will be encouraged and supported, a close fitting, wrap-around sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard 1067 (Sunglasses: Category 2, 3 or 4) that covers as much of the eye area as possible is best; and
  • workers are encouraged/required to wear suitable sunglasses when working outdoors that meet AS 1067.

5. Sunscreen

  • the school makes SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen accessible to all students (and workers) daily throughout the school via most, if not all, classrooms; 
  • policy should list availability of sunscreen Eg all classrooms, certain classrooms, designated sunscreen application spots etc;
  • parents are also reminded to send their child/ren to school with sunscreen already applied, ie as their get ready for school morning routine;
  • students are still encouraged to bring their own sunscreen that they may choose to apply during the day;
  • sunscreen is reapplied after 2 hours ie 15-20 minutes before going outdoors Ie lunch and PE and reapplied after two hours or more often is washed or wiped off;
  • strategies are in place for teachers and staff members to effectively remind/create opportunities for students to apply sunscreen, if they want, before going outdoors Ie before lunch time/PE etc;
  • sunscreen will be available at all outdoor events Eg swimming and athletic carnivals, camps and excursions etc

6. Outdoors activities

Outdoor time will be minimised, when possible and practical, between 11am and 3pm during the daylight saving/summer period (Ie Term 1 and 4). This is when UV levels peak in Canberra and the risk of skin and eye damage is significantly increased too. Care is always taken during the middle of the day when outdoors. 

7. Winter and sun protection

  • Due to low UV levels experienced in Canberra around the June and July period each day (under 3), sun protection behaviour, like wearing a hat and applying sunscreen is not generally recommended. Students and teachers will not be required to wear their sun hat during this period- this may be replaced with a beanie.
  • Sun protection may still be required during this low UV period if spending extended time outdoors eg school carnivals and outdoor excursions. 
  • Teachers are encouraged to educate students during this period around the importance of a balanced approach to sun protection- ie students should know when sun protection is necessary and why?

8. Work Health and Safety & Modelling

  • as part of our school's Work Health and Safety (WHS) responsibilities and duty of care, all teachers and staff members will be required to protect their skin (and eyes too) when working outdoors. When UV levels are 3 and above or if spending extended time in the sun a combination of sun protection measures will be required;
  • teachers are encouraged to choose Cancer Council's Generation SunSmart Teacher Professional Learning Modules as one of their TQI Teacher Identified Activity; and
  • teachers can also choose to download the SunSmart App to assist them with accurate daily sun protection times in Canberra.
Between August and May workers at our school will be required to:
  • wear sun protective hats and clothing;
  • apply SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours;
  • seek shade whenever possible, and
  • be aware of the signs of early skin cancer and what to do if they have any concerns.

Sunglasses should be worn all year round regardless of UV levels when working outdoors. A close fitting, wrap-around pair will offer the best protection.

PCBUs (ie ACT Education Directorate, Principals, Deputy Principals) will do as much as what is considered "reasonably practicable" to protect all workers at our school from over-exposure to solar UV radiation. Skin cancer is an occupational disease.

Families and visitors to our school are encouraged to model appropriate sun protection behaviour by adopting a combination of sun protection measures (sun protective clothing and hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and shade) when participating in and attending outdoor activities and events on site between August and May.

9. Communication, Learning Outcomes and SunSmart Tools

Our school will:

  • upload a copy of this UV Protection policy for parents / carers to access  anytime via the school's website 
  • regularly reinforce SunSmart behaviour through correspondence with families via the notice board and displays, website, and through students and staff activities and learning experiences;
  • Include education and learning outcomes on a healthy UV balance in the curriculum across all year levels;
  • ensure information about this policy is included in parent handbooks and other important documentation sent to families; and
  • display the SunSmart Widget on our school's website homepage.

10. OSHC Service - Outer School Hour Care

Schools that offer an OSHC service are aware of their UV protection responsibilities and duty or care  to protect students and workers from  UV exposure after school hours.  Sun protection will be required after school hours if UV levels remain 3 and above. 

11. Review, monitor and update

  • our policy is regularly monitored and reviewed (at least once every three years) and revised when required.
  • as a member of the National SunSmart Schools Program (search your school's current SunSmart certificate) this policy will be submitted to Cancer Council ACT every three (3) years to be reviewed.T his policy will be updated, if required, to maintain high SunSmart standards for the ACT.

Our school's next UV Protection Policy and Practices review is:     /     /20

12. Relevant Documents / Links

  • Radiation Protection Standard for Occupational Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation (2006) ARPANSA Radiation Protection Series No. 12
  • Safe Work Australia: Guidance Note for the Protection of Workers from the Ultraviolet Radiation in Sunlight
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • ACT Education Directorate UV (Sun) Protection Policy For Students (2015).
  • Cancer Council ACT National SunSmart Schools Program

This sample UV Protection Policy was last updated  in September 2019. 

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