How to Provide a Sun-Smart Workplace in Australia Using ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’

Sun-smart workplace
In all Australian workplaces, where the success of a business hinges on the wellbeing of its workforce, the relentless sun poses a unique challenge. We’re all familiar with the basics of ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide,’ and as a business owner, you’ve likely encountered these sun safety recommendations before. But what if there’s a fresh perspective that could redefine how you approach offering a sun-smart workplace?

With your HR or management position, you understand the significance of a sun-safe and engaged workforce. So what if implementing sun safety measures wasn’t just a routine but a strategic move? In this blog, you’ll lean into the workplace side of ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’, going beyond the typical advice.

Slip: The Impact of Protective Clothing for a Sun-Smart Workplace

When it comes to having a sun-smart workplace, the primary directive of ‘Slip’ advocates wearing protective clothing to shield the skin from harmful UV rays. This involves opting for long-sleeved wear to minimise direct sun exposure, reducing the risk of sunburn, premature ageing, and the onset of skin cancers.

For outdoor workers, especially in roles like construction or trades who will tend to be shirtless to reduce body heat, the act of slipping on a shirt is essential. It serves as a proactive measure, safeguarding against the cumulative effects of prolonged sun exposure, thus preventing potential skin damage. However, the application of slipping on a shirt isn’t exclusive to outdoor professions. Indoor workers can also benefit from it during prolonged exposure near a window or breaks and outdoor activities.

As the HR team or business owner, you play a crucial role in educating staff about the importance of ‘slip’. Providing clear guidelines on suitable work attire, distributing informative materials, and conducting workshops on the importance of protective clothing are effective ways to instil this practice and keep a sun-smart workplace.

Slop: Maintain a Sun-Smart Workplace With Sunscreen

In navigating the sun’s impact on employees’ wellbeing, the essential step of ‘Slop – Slop on Sunscreen’ prompts us to shield ourselves against UV rays. This involves not just applying sunscreen, but doing so generously and repeatedly throughout the day to create an effective barrier. Sunscreen may seem like a given practice, but to have a sun-smart workplace, it is important to understand how your workforce realistically applies it.

Outdoor workers are in the open sun for extended periods. That’s a fact. However, the challenge lies in the misconception that a single application of sunscreen is sufficient for the day. Many outdoor workers fail to reapply or use an inadequate amount, unwittingly exposing themselves to the harmful effects of UV radiation. Your business must prompt the importance of consistent and ample sunscreen application, emphasising its role in preventing both immediate discomfort and long-term skin damage.

Yet, the necessity of sunscreen isn’t confined to outdoor labour. Indoor workers, despite being sheltered from direct sunlight, are not immune. Those who skip sunscreen, believing it to be unnecessary, may be unknowingly exposing themselves during lunch breaks, commutes, or when working near windows. The cumulative impact of this exposure can contribute to skin damage over time. HR teams and business owners like you have a critical role in dispelling the misconception that indoor work implies complete sun protection. Through clear guidelines, informative materials, and workshops, you can educate indoor workers and nurture a sun-smart workplace.

Slap: Sun-Smart Workplace and the Impact of Hats

The instruction to ‘Slap on a Hat’ underscores the vital role headgear plays in shielding us from the sun’s intense rays. This goes beyond style; it’s a practical strategy to safeguard the face, neck, and scalp from direct exposure to harmful UV radiation.

For workers engaged in outdoor tasks, where prolonged sun exposure is commonplace, the type of headgear becomes pivotal. It’s not just about wearing a cap; it’s about opting for a canvas sun hat with protective flaps that extend to cover the neck. The emphasis here is on preventing sunburn on the often-neglected neck area, which, if left unprotected, can lead to discomfort and potential long-term damage. As the employer, you can take proactive measures by investing in reliable head protection for your workers, offering a sun-smart workplace in the process.

If you are in charge of staff working indoors, you shouldn’t fully dismiss the need for headwear. Employees’ hair thickness and colour can impact scalp protection, with lighter or thinner hair potentially leaving the scalp more susceptible to sunburn. As such, employees need to stay mindful of scalp and neck exposure during breaks, lunch hours, or commutes. You can educate your staff about the significance of wearing a cap or wide-brim hat when stepping outdoors, emphasising its contribution to overall sun safety.

Seek: The Importance of Shade During Lunch Breaks for a Sun-Smart Workplace

‘Seek Shade’ is a crucial directive in the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’ campaign, highlighting the significance of finding shaded areas to minimise direct sun exposure, provide heat relief, and mitigate the risks of prolonged skin damage.

While complete avoidance of the sun may not be practical for outdoor workers, taking short breaks in shaded areas during the day offers a practical solution. These breaks not only offer a reprieve from continuous sun exposure but also play a crucial role in maintaining hydration. As an employer, it is up to you to ensure workers take shaded breaks and have access to water to be considered a sun-smart workplace.

And if your workforce is primarily indoors, reinforcing the need for shade remains primordial. The midday sun can be surprisingly harsh, making the act of seeking shade crucial even during seemingly short outdoor activities. You can raise awareness among staff about the intensity of the sun during lunch hours and ensure your location provides enough shaded areas to accommodate them.

Slide: Don’t Overlook Sunnies for a Sun-Smart Workplace

‘Slide on Sunglasses’ underscores the vital importance of wearing sunglasses to shield our eyes and their delicate surrounding skin from the potential harm of sun exposure.

Prolonged exposure experienced by outdoor workers can lead to discomfort, vision issues, and, in severe cases, lasting damage. Sunglasses, beyond covering the eyes, provide comprehensive protection for other sensitive areas of the face, offering a strong defence against the sun’s rays. To protect your workers, you can proactively be a sun-smart workplace by emphasising the importance of sunglasses as a fundamental part of outdoor work attire and providing adequate equipment.

Even indoor workers need to consider sunglasses when stepping outside for breaks, lunch, or commutes. Neglecting to slide on sunglasses exposes individuals to the potential harm of UV rays on eyesight and the sensitive skin around the eyes. You can educate indoor workers about the dual purpose of sunglasses, highlighting that eye protection is essential regardless of the work setting.

Become a Sun-Smart Workplace Today With Educational Seminars

In promoting a sun-safe workplace, ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’ stands out as a fundamental guide. These practical steps—slipping on protective clothing, slopping on sunscreen, slapping on a hat, seeking shade, and sliding on sunglasses—are crucial measures for creating a safer work environment.

Businesses like yours are urged to champion sun safety by raising awareness and educating their staff through impactful initiatives like educational seminars. These sessions serve as powerful tools to instil the significance of proactive measures against sun exposure. They equip employees with essential knowledge and habits for their well-being.

Skin Smart offers tailored sun safety seminars designed to meet the specific needs of your business and its workforce. Conducted by dermal professionals, these seminars provide comprehensive insights, practical tips, and personalised strategies to seamlessly integrate sun safety and help your business offer a sun-smart workplace.

Take the proactive step toward a sun-smart workplace—learn more about Skin Smart’s sun safety seminars and empower your workforce with the knowledge needed to thrive under the Australian sun.