Research

Details of research activities of the SSAWC Working Group are provided below.

SUN SAFETY AT ORK IN CANADA (SSAWC) PROJECT

Publications resulting from the SSAWC project include the following:

Peters, C.E., Pasko, E., Strahlendorf, P., Holness, D.L., Tenkate, T. Solar ultraviolet radiation exposure among outdoor workers in three Canadian provinces. Annals of Work Exposures and Health 2019; 63(6): 679-688

Haynes, E., Kramer, D.M., Holness, D.L., Strahlendorf, P., Tenkate, T. With a little help from my friends: elements of successful integrated knowledge translation collaborative partnerships from three workplace-based occupational disease research projects. Work 2019; 62(2): 261-278

Haynes, E., Kramer, D.M., Strahlendorf, P., Holness, D.L., Kushner, R., Tenkate, T. A cross-Canada knowledge transfer and exchange workplace intervention targeting the adoption of sun safety programs and practices: Sun Safety at Work Canada. Safety Science 2018; 102: 238-250.

Kramer, D., Haynes, E., Holness, D.L., Strahlendorf, P., Kushner, R., Tenkate, T. Sun Safety at Work Canada: Baseline evaluation of outdoor workplaces recruited to participate in a sun safety knowledge transfer and exchange intervention. Safety Science 2017; 96: 172-182.

Kramer, D.M., Tenkate, T., Strahlendorf, P., Kushner, R., Gardner, A., Holness, D.L. Sun Safety at Work Canada: a multiple case study protocol to develop sun and heat safety programs and policies for outdoor workers. Implementation Science 2015; 10:97.

Tenkate, T. 12 ways to protect workers from the sun. Canadian Occupational Safety, Published on-line on May 6, 2019.

Tenkate, T. and Kushner, R. Outdoor workers exposed to dangerous solar radiation. Canadian Occupational Safety, August 18, 2015.

 

SOLAR UVR EXPOSURE AMOUNG OUDOOR WORKERS IN ABERTA

Despite the significant health and economic impacts of workplace exposure to solar UVR, occupational exposure measurements in most provinces, including Alberta, are not available. To help address this gap, CAREX Canada launched a study with support from Sun Safety at Work Canada working group partners, we answered:

1) What are the typical full-day solar radiation exposure levels for outdoor workers in Alberta, and what personal, work, or environmental factors lead to higher levels?

Through solar UVR sampling, we found that:

  • Outdoor workers in Alberta may be at considerable risk of solar UVR exposure in the summer months.

  • Almost half of the workers were exposed to levels that exceeded the international occupational exposure limit guideline, and some workers were exposed to levels 13 times the international guideline.

  • Those who worked outside for more hours or on sunny and mixed sunny/cloudy days were more likely to have higher daily doses.

2) What sun protection behaviours are being used by outdoor workers at work and leisure in Alberta?

Through worker surveys, we found that:

  • Outdoor workers were more likely to practice sun protection behaviours at work than at leisure.

  • At work, workers were more likely to wear protective clothing, hats, and sunscreen, but at leisure, they were more likely to seek shade.

  • As the number of hours spent outdoors at work and leisure increased, sun protection also increased.

3) What are the best practices for creating a sun exposure and skin cancer surveillance system for outdoor workers in Alberta?

By conducting a literature review and interviewing key informants, we found that:

  • There are few examples worldwide of jurisdictions that have surveillance systems in place to support the exposure and NMSC risk reduction in this vulnerable worker population.

  • Key barriers for designing and implementing an occupational surveillance program in Canada include underreporting/under-participation and a lack of funding and awareness.

  • Key facilitators include communication/collaboration, a simple reporting process, and long-term funding.

For more information, please refer to the CAREX Canada website

Publications

Study team and funder

Principal Investigator: Dr. Cheryl Peters

Co-Investigators: Dr. Victoria Arrandale, Dr. Sunil Kalia, Dr. Thomas Tenkate, Dr. Linn Holness

Collaborators: Ms. Lindsay Forsman-Phillips, Mr. Steve Quantz, Ms. Judith Purcell, Ms. Brenda Marsh, Ms. Nicole Braun, Mr. Merrill O’Donnell

Funder: Alberta Ministry of Labour and Immigration

 

SUN SAFETY MESSAGING FOR OUTDOOR WORKERS

Canadian researchers and dermatologists have developed sun safety messages for public health purposes, but these recommendations are often not feasible for outdoor workers to follow. The objective of this research is to develop a set of practical sun safety messages that will work for outdoor workers and their employers.

To accomplish this, the research team will consult with experts, collect information about sun safety messages for outdoor workers worldwide, and speak to outdoor workers, health and safety professionals, and employers to better understand what they need in terms of sun safety messages. Findings will be synthesized and presented in a workshop (including outdoor workers, industry and labour experts, dermatologists, and researchers), as well as during one-on-one focused interviews with stakeholders to achieve consensus on what exactly these messages need to convey. By creating practical, tailored sun safety messages for outdoor workers, this project aims to increase sun protective behaviours among outdoor workers and subsequently, to reduce the burden of solar UVR-related occupational disease.

This project is ongoing and results will be shared when available, tentatively in the summer of 2021.

Study team and funder

Principal Investigator: Dr. Cheryl Peters

Co-Investigators: Ms. Nicole Braun, Ms. Lindsay Forsman-Phillips, Dr. Thomas Tenkate

Funder: WorkSafeBC