Outdoor Workers' Perceptions of the Risks of Excess Sun-Exposure

School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Journal of Occupational Health (Impact Factor: 1.11). 08/2009; 51(5):404-11. DOI: 10.1539/joh.L9030
Source: PubMed


To describe the pattern of associations with sunscreen use of sun protection attitudes and knowledge in a large sample of New Zealand outdoor workers. We also examined the relationship between perceived skin type and perceived risk of developing skin cancer.
Outdoor workers from nine occupational groups (n=1,131) completed a questionnaire, which included measures of skin cancer related risk perceptions, knowledge and sunscreen use.
Sunscreen use was associated with perceived prioritization of sun-protection, concern about sun-exposure, knowledge about the effects of sun-exposure and perceived supportive workplace culture. These variables accounted for 37% of the variation in sunscreen use. Maori, younger workers and forestry workers least likely to report sunscreen use and sun-exposure risk perception.
Interventions that strengthen knowledge about risks and values of sun protection are likely to increase sun protection efforts. However, interventions for outdoor workers need to take into account potential socio-demographic, personal and workplace influences are required to prevent the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers within this population group.

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Available from: Elizabeth Robinson, Oct 03, 2015
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    • "A further environmental consideration is the impact of workplace culture on sun protection behaviours. Cross-sectional studies suggest the importance of culture: two New Zealand studies [42,43] found workers who perceived sun protection was valued at their workplace had higher levels of sun protection. An American study reported a positive association between social norms and lifeguards’ sun protection [44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Outdoor workers are at high risk of harmful ultraviolet radiation exposure and are identified as an at risk group for the development of skin cancer. This systematic evidence based review provides an update to a previous review published in 2007 about interventions for the prevention of skin cancer in outdoor workers. This review includes interventions published between 2007 - 2012 and presents findings about sun protection behaviours and/or objective measures of skin cancer risk. Six papers met inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Large studies with extended follow-up times demonstrated the efficacy of educational and multi-component interventions to increase sun protection, with some higher use of personal protective equipment such as sunscreen. However, there is less evidence for the effectiveness of policy or specific intervention components. Further research aimed at improving overall attitudes towards sun protection in outdoor workers is needed to provide an overarching framework.
    BMC Research Notes 01/2014; 7(1):10. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-7-10
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    • "Another important finding noted by Lewis et al. (2006) was that being female was the only common predictor of sunscreen use for both working and nonworking days [33]. Moreover, in a New Zealand study with a large sample of outdoor workers (n = 1,283), consistent with the previous studies, McCool et al. (2009) found that females were significantly more likely to wear sunscreen than males [34]. On the other hand, Stepanski and Mayer (1998) did not find a difference in UVR protection behaviors between male and female outdoor workers although this similarity in sun protective behaviors may result from clothing policies enforced by the companies [35]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Outdoor workers are at a higher risk for developing skin cancer due to their increased sun exposure. The primary objective of this review was to synthesize the current research literature that addresses sociodemographic and psychological factors related to sun protection behaviors in outdoor workers. Two additional purposes were to provide an overview of sun exposure and describe sun protection behaviors of outdoor workers. To identify the studies for this review, a methodical search was performed in the PubMed, PsycInfo, MEDLINE, and ERIC databases. Fifteen studies met the review criteria. Despite regular and prolonged sun exposure, many outdoor workers fail to engage in sufficient sun protection behaviors. Correlates of outdoor workers' sun protection behaviors include being female, older age, being white, personal skin cancer history, time (hours/years) spent at work, sun safety training, perceived prioritization of sun protection, concern about sun exposure, workplace support, families' expectations, and familial information giving. However, limited attention is given to designing theoretically grounded studies to identify factors to inform future research. There is a need to conduct research based on solid theoretical foundations that explains the relationships among the factors in this domain.
    09/2013; 2013:453174. DOI:10.1155/2013/453174
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    • "Men, which constitute majority of outdoor workers, may feel that it is not masculine to protect themselves from the sun [19], especially when around other males, while women feel that a tan makes them look slender and sexy [20]. In general, the perceived importance of sun protection is low among outdoor workers [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Skin cancer are increasing and some types of skin cancer are among the most lethal cancers yet are easily preventable. However, sun protection interventions are rarely implemented among outdoor workers. Our prior work shows that Michigan Operating Engineers (heavy equipment operators) spend an average of 4-5 hours in the sun, about one-third reported getting sun burned at least once a summer, and over half burned more than once a summer. About three-quarters of the sample never or only sometimes used sun block. Methods/design: Using the Health Belief Model as a guide, this randomized controlled trial (RCT) will test the efficacy of four sun protection interventions targeting Operating Engineers: a) education only; b) education and mailed sunscreen; c) education and text message reminders; and, d) education, mailed sunscreen, and text message reminders. Participations in the study will be offered during regularly scheduled safety trainings at the Local 324 Training Center. Pre- and post-intervention surveys will be collected to determine changes in sunscreen use and sun burning, the primary dependent variables. The analyses will include: a) paired t-tests to determine changes over time (from pre-intervention to post-intervention) in outcome variables (sunscreen use and burning) separately in the 4 intervention groups, b) Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (RM-ANOVA) to compare the changes in outcomes across the 4 groups, and c) t-tests on change scores as follow-ups to the RM-ANOVA to determine exactly which groups differ from each other. Discussion: Based on the outcome of this study, we will develop a RO1 for wider scale testing and dissemination in conjunction with the International Training Center which services North America (including the US, Mexico, and Canada). Wide scale dissemination of an efficacious sun protection intervention has the potential to substantially impact skin cancer rates among this population. The ultimate goal is for high reach, high efficacy, and low cost. Trial registration: NCT01804595.
    BMC Public Health 03/2013; 13(1):273. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-273 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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