Farmers and workers urged to be ‘sun smart'

July 14th, 2019 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Farmers need to protect themselves from the sun.

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GIVEN that more than one skin cancer death a week occurs in either the construction or farming sector, the Irish Cancer Society has teamed up with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to spread the SunSmart message this summer.

The Irish Cancer Society has said that almost one in four (23%) of skin cancer deaths in Ireland are from the construction, outdoor and farming industry. The figures have remained stagnant in recent years and urge outdoor workers to be extra vigilant during the summer months, and reduce their risk of skin cancer. Kevin O’Hagan, cancer prevention manager with the Irish Cancer Society, said: ‘These figures from the CSO 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.’They are teaming up with ICTU to encourage employers and employees (including farmers and farm workers) to take the necessary sun protection behaviours to reduce the number of workers dying form a very preventable cancer.

Mr O’Hagan added: ‘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.’

To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of cancer, contact the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700, email [email protected] or drop into one of 13 Daffodil Centres in hospitals nationwide. For information on Daffodil Centre locations and opening times, email [email protected] 

• For more information on skin cancer or how to be SunSmart, visit

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