Dr. Peters

Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is a workplace hazard that can cause skin cancer, heat stress, and other serious health effects, all of which are preventable. Outdoor workers are at highest risk of exposure and, according to CAREX Canada, approximately 1.5 million Canadians are exposed to solar UVR at work. Past exposure at work leads to approximately 4,600 non-melanoma skin cancers each year, which amounts to 6.3% of non-melanoma skin cancer cases diagnosed annually. These cases amount to $28.9 million of direct and indirect costs each year. Dr. Peters is the principal investigator of two projects related to solar UVR exposure at work.

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 messages for sun safety that will work for outdoor workers and their employers. We 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.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Cheryl Peters

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

Funder: WorkSafeBC

Solar UVR exposure among outdoor workers in Alberta: Measurements, surveillance, and protective behaviours

Despite the significant health and economic impacts of workplace exposure to solar UVR, occupational exposure measurements in most province, including Alberta, are not available. To address this gap, we:

  1. assessed the typical full-day solar radiation exposure levels for outdoor workers in Alberta, and what personal, work, or environmental factors lead to higher levels, and
  2. conducted an environmental scan and key informant interviews in order to determine the best practices for creating a sun exposure and skin cancer surveillance system for outdoor workers in Alberta.

In addition, we assessed what sun protection behaviours are being used by outdoor workers when at work and at leisure. Results are available on the CAREX Canada (https://www.carexcanada.ca/special-topics/sun-safety/).

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