23% of skin cancer deaths in Ireland are from the construction, outdoor and farming industry, according to the Irish Cancer Society.
The society has teamed up with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to warn outdoor workers to be extra vigilant during the summer months and reduce their risk of skin cancer.
The congress represents 44 unions and approximately 750,000 workers across the country, with around 18% of the membership working in the outdoors, according to the society.
Announcing the partnership, Kevin O’Hagan, cancer prevention manager with the Irish Cancer Society, said:
These figures from the CSO (Central Statistics Office) show that, in 2016, we had over 60 deaths in Ireland which were related to sun exposure at work. That is more than one death a week.
“The dangers of skin cancer in these industries have often been neglected, because the risk of accidental death and injury on the job is considered higher and more immediate.
“However, long-term exposure to the invisible hazard of the sun’s ultraviolet rays puts outdoor workers at a high risk of skin cancer.
“We are really pleased to be teaming up with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions this summer to encourage employers and employees to take the necessary sun protection behaviours to reduce the number of workers dying from a very preventable cancer.
“Every year in Ireland, it is estimated that almost 12,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer, and figures show that more men than women were diagnosed.
Getting repeated sunburn throughout life increases the risk of skin cancer.
“Half of all adults experienced sunburn in the last year and a third of men have experienced sunburn while working outdoors, so we asking people to take the necessary steps to avoid sunburn and to be SunSmart at work,” O’Hagan concluded.