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ARPANSA leads the way as a SunSmart workplace

23 November 2017

Assistant Minister for Health the Hon Dr David Gillespie MP today attended a ceremony to recognise the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) as a SunSmart workplace.

Until now, Cancer Council Victoria’s SunSmart program has only recognised schools and early childhood centres that meet its guidelines for sun protection policies and practices. ARPANSA is being recognised as a ‘SunSmart workplace’ for its commitment to protect staff from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

As part of its commitment, ARPANSA will educate and train staff and contractors to encourage better workplace sun protection. This includes using available sunscreen and shade.

Speaking at the launch at ARPANSA’s Yallambie site in Melbourne today, Dr Gillespie said it was important workplaces recognise the risks of UV radiation.

“Each year, more than 200 melanomas and 34,000 other forms of skin cancer are diagnosed as a result of UV damage in the workplace, yet we know most of these cancers could have been prevented with proper measures in place,” Dr Gillespie said.

“As the Australian authority in UV radiation, it’s great to see ARPANSA taking a leading role in recognising UV risks, and acting to make sure its workers are protected.”

ARPANSA CEO Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson was pleased the agency could show leadership for other Australian workplaces.

“Becoming a SunSmart workplace is important to us because we’re encouraging safe sun practices at work. Staff spend a significant amount of time outdoors here at ARPANSA and during field work, so it is really important our organisation approaches sun safety seriously. We’re also keen to model this behaviour to influence all Australian workers.”

Cancer Council Victoria Prevention Director Craig Sinclair said it was fitting and timely, ARPANSA was recognised as a SunSmart workplace this week being National Skin Cancer Action Week – an initiative of Cancer Council and the Australasian College of Dermatologists

“The SunSmart message isn’t just for kids. We want to make sure every Australian, no matter their age, is taking steps to protect their skin outdoors,” Mr Sinclair said.

“We’re pleased to be able to recognise ARPANSA’s commitment to skin cancer prevention, and we hope it will serve as a reminder to other workplaces to take a look at their own UV policies.”

As well as being recognised as a SunSmart workplace in its own right, ARPANSA is working with Cancer Councils nationally to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and help Australians understand UV radiation.

ARPANSA’s work in UV radiation includes maintaining a national real time UV monitoring network with stations in capital cities and regional areas. This provides critical data for the Cancer Council’s SunSmart app. ARPANSA also maintains an accredited UV laboratory, which provides testing of clothing, sunglasses and shade cloth. The accreditation means ARPANSA’s testing has competence, impartiality and integrity, and there are stringent processes and procedures in place to ensure testing is true and accurate.

Consumers can find ARPANSA’s swing tags on items like shirts and hats, which indicate the product has been tested and complies with Australian sun-protective clothing standard.