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Occupational Sun Exposure Regulations and Standards

Employers' legal duty to mitigate the risks against sun exposure at work

Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This includes taking steps to prevent risks associated with sun exposure.

To ensure you are fulfilling your responsibilities as an employer, find out about the legislation and standards regarding sun safety in the workplace.

Legal Responsibilities

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 19741 states that it is the duty of every employer "to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees". This means that employers must ensure their employees can work safely, and without risk to their health, and includes unprotected exposure to UV radiation.

Section 2 also makes clear that employers should provide "information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees". This means that employers are legally bound to inform their employees of the dangers that spending time in the sun can bring.

Under section 7 of the Act, employees have a responsibility for their own safety and health, and to "cooperate... as far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with". This means that if an employer implements UV-protection policies and provides sun-protective measures for their employees, staff must conform.

Under section 9 of the Act2, the employer is unable to charge employees for products, such as sunscreens or protective clothing, or training concerned with sun protection.

Risk Assessment

UV radiation should be considered an occupational hazard for people who work outdoors.

Employers have a duty of care to assess the risks and take the necessary steps to identify workers who have a higher risk of exposure to the sun's UV radiation.

  • Conduct a risk assessment for each role in your organisation
  • If a role is assessed as at risk, consider, and implement controls for minimising UV exposure
Blue sky with sunshine between clouds

Best Practice

A health and safety manager, or a responsible person, should be appointed to make sure that health and safety measures are always being adhered to.

Employees need to be made aware of the possible dangers of sun exposure. To assure this, employers should provide thorough training and an ongoing programme of education.

It's clear that cooperation between employers and employees are required to implement any effective measures to help minimise the risk of UV sun exposure at work.

Workers being trained in a classroom

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