Occupational Sun Protection: Workplace Culture, Equipment Provision and Outdoor Workers’ Characteristics
Journal of Occupational Health; Article ID: http://dx.doi.org/10.1539/joh.12-0182-OA; DN/JST.JSTAGE/joh/12-0182-OA
Anthony I Reeder1), Andrew Gray2), Judith P McCool3)
1) Cancer Society of New Zealand Social and Behavioral Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago
2) Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago
3) Dept. of Social and Community Health, School of Population Health, University of Auckland
Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe outdoor workers’ sun-protective practices, workplace sun-safety culture and sun-protective equipment provision; investigate the association of demographic, personal and occupational factors with sun-protective practices; and identify potential strategies for improving workers’ sun protection.
Methods: The present study used a clustered survey design with randomly identified employers in nine occupations. Employees provided questionnaire measures of demographics, personal characteristics (skin type, skin cancer risk perceptions, tanning attitudes, sun-exposure knowledge), personal occupational sun protection practices (exposure reduction, use of sun-protective clothing, sunscreen and shade), workplace sun-protective equipment provision and perceived workplace sun-safety culture. Summative scores were calculated for attitudes, knowledge, workplace provision and culture. A multivariable model was built with worker and workplace variables as plausible predictors of personal sun protection.
Results: In this study, 1,061 workers (69% participation) from 112 workplaces provided sufficient information for analysis. Sex, age, prioritized ethnicity, education and risk perception differed significantly between occupational groups (p<0.001), as did workers’ sun-protective practices and workplace sun-protection equipment provision and supportive culture. After adjustment, each one-point increase in Workplace Sun-safety Culture Score (range 12 points) was associated with a 0.16 higher Personal Sun-Protection Score (p<0.001), and each one-point increase in Workplace Provision Score (range 4 points) was associated with a 0.14 higher score (p<0.001). Sun Protection Score was significantly associated with skin response to sun exposure (p<0.001), female sex (p=0.021), tanning attitudes (p=0.022) and occupation (p=0.049), but not ethnicity, age education, knowledge or skin cancer risk perception.
Conclusions: Protective equipment provision and sun-protective workplace culture are promising components for the development of comprehensive programmes to improve outdoor workers’ sun-protective practices.
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