UV skin damage, especially sunburn, is a common aftermath from outdoor events and festivals, particularly in summer. This is mainly because festival goers are outdoors for long periods of time, and generally with limited, if any, access to adequate or effective sun (UV) protection.
Canberra festival and outdoor event organisers have a legal responsibility and duty of care to protect patrons, workers and volunteers (under WH&S) as far as reasonably practicable from foreseeable harm and this includes exposure to potentially dangerous UV radiation from the harsh Australian sun. By minimising direct UV exposure wherever possible, organisers fulfil their obligation and duty of care toward their patrons, workers and volunteers.
All workers that are required to work outdoors must be aware of the danger associated with UV exposure and:
- wear sensible uniform/clothing that covers as much skin as possible
- wear a broad brimmed or bucket hat, baseball style caps are not recommended
- have access to sunscreen and shade, and
- wear close fitting wrap-around pair of sunnies to protect eyes.
Use the checklist below to ensure your next outdoor event is SunSmart.
Do you have a UV (Sun) Protection Policy (a WH&S policy) in place to protect workers from occupational UV related skin damage and sunburn? Yes / No
*Cancer Council ACT can review your policy or assist you toward developing a brand new policy.
Annual UV levels peak in summer between 11am and 3pm - therefor this is not a practical or safe time to host an outdoor event because the risk of skin damage and sunburn to patrons and workers is to great.
Have you considered shade provision? Yes / No
Yes - there is adequate shade already onsite for patrons and workers.
No - we need to introduce more shade provision to the site.
Ask vendors to supply shade for their customers. Perhaps charge a lower fee as an incentive for stall holders to supply more shade.
Ensure all workers including volunteers have received and signed off on a copy of your UV (Sun) Protection Policy. It is important that all workers understand their WH&S responsibilities and duty of care when it comes to working safely under the sun ie via staff meetings and training, volunteer inductions and training, workplace awareness and culture etc
*Contact Cancer Council ACT for SunSmart support and resources for your staff and volunteer training.
Ensure patrons are permitted to bring their own sunscreen into the event - this must be communicated to all security staff, especially if they are conducting bag searches upon entry. Sunscreen must not be banned.
Staff, Volunteers and WH&S Requirements
Under WH&S all staff including volunteers that will be working outdoors at your event must:
- Wear a sun-protective hat that shades the face, neck and ears from the sun's UV. This may be a broad-brimmed hat, bucket hat with deep crown or a legionnaire style hat with suitable side flaps.
- Have a uniform or a required dress code that includes sun protective clothing that is cool and covers as much skin as possible. Shorts and short sleeve shirts are not suitable for working under the sun. Fabric should be densely woven, preferably with a UPF50 rating.
- Have access to SPF30+ water resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen during the day.
- Be allowed and encouraged to wear a wrap-around pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses meet ASNZS 1067.
- Have access to shade (and water).
- Have rotating rosters, where possible, to minimise each person's time spent in the sun, particularly during the peak UV period of the day.
For Patrons, Visitors & Participants.
- Include sun protection aka SunSmart reminders in promotional material in the lead up to the event, this may include traditional and social media channels and website. This may include reminders to bring your hat, BYO sunscreen, look for the sunscreen application spots at the event, download the SunSmart app, wear sensible clothing to prevent sunburn, take advantage of our shady spots etc
- Ensure there are plenty of shaded areas to access throughout the event.
- Allow patrons to bring their own shade ie umbrellas, tents, shade domes etc.
- Display reminders throughout the event to "be SunSmart" - this may also be via announcements.
- Make free sunscreen available.
For further SunSmart support, resources and training opportunities contact Cancer Council ACT.