Be SunSmart – how to be safe in the sun this summer at work and at home.

Did you know? The shorter the shadow, the stronger the UV Rays!

With summer approaching, now is a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of being safe in the sun. Being SunSmart means remembering to use the sun protection system:

  • SLIP on a long-sleeved shirt and slip into shade. No sunscreen can filter out all UV radiation so cover up as much skin as practical and plan outdoor activities for early or late in the day with the sun’s UV levels are lower.
  • SLOP on a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF30. Aim to use at least seven teaspoons if you’re doing your whole body. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out so it can bind to your skin and form a protective layer. Reapply every two hours and after sweating and swimming.
  • SLAP on a wide-brimmed hat or a cap with flaps – a cap without flaps doesn’t protect your ears, neck, cheeks or chin.
  • WRAP on a pair of close-fitting, wrap-around sunglasses.

Did you know? It is estimated that 15% of the workforce in New Zealand work outdoors!

The level of UV radiation that New Zealand experiences is 40% higher than in countries at a similar latitude in the Northern Hemisphere. It is thought that episodes of sunburn, and a lot of exposure over time, cause 90% of skin cancers.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) businesses have a primary duty of care to provide and maintain a work environment that is without risks to the health and safety of workers. This means that businesses should consider UV exposure from sun as a workplace hazard.

Being Sunsmart at Work - When you work outdoors

Actions we can take to reduce this risk:

  • PROVIDE – make sunscreen available, i.e. in the office, in vehicles, etc. Provide uniforms that are SunSmart, i.e. long sleeved shirts, hats and wrap-around sunglasses. If working outside for long periods, provide shade.
  • COMMUNICATE – provide information on the ways to be SunSmart. This could be in a toolbox meeting, posters on a noticeboard, posting the Sun Protection Alert on your intranet, or encourage them to download the uv2day app. Let your staff know what you are providing and where they can find it. Encourage staff to check their skin and go to their doctor if they are concerned. You might also consider providing skins checks as part of your wellness programme.
  • LEAD – Ensure management are good role models in being SunSmart!


There are many great resources online with more information, which can help you communicate the SunSmart message in your business:

And finally, here’s a great video to share with your team.

Written by Clare Radbourne

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