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From the JAMA Network |

Recognizing Sun Safety as an Employee Health Issue

Lori A. Crane, PhD, MPH1; Robert P. Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH2,3,4
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Community and Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
2Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
3Dermatology Service, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Eastern Colorado Health Care System, Denver
4Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
JAMA. 2016;315(17):1894-1895. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1008.
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This commentary discusses a survey study published in JAMA Dermatology that investigated whether government organizations in Colorado had occupational sun protection policies.

JAMA Dermatology

Factors Associated With Occupational Sun-Protection Policies in Local Government Organizations in Colorado

Barbara J. Walkosz, PhD; David B. Buller, PhD; Peter A. Andersen, PhD; Allan Wallis, PhD; Mary Klein Buller, MA; Michael D. Scott, PhD

Importance Skin cancer prevention remains a national priority. Reducing chronic UV radiation exposure for outdoor workers through sun-safety practices is an important step to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

Objective To determine the presence of occupational sun-safety policies at local government organizations in a single state.

Design, Setting, and Participants Of 571 potentially eligible local government organizations of Colorado cities, counties, and special tax districts, we enrolled 98 in a randomized pretest-posttest controlled experiment starting August 15, 2010, that evaluated an intervention to promote the adoption of sun-safety policies. We used a policy-coding protocol to evaluate personal sun-protection practices, environmental and administrative controls, and policy directives for sun safety starting February 10, 2011. We report the baseline assessment of the occupational sun-protection policies of these organizations.

Main Outcomes and Measures The presence of an occupational sun-safety policy.

Results Overall, 85 local government organizations (87%) had policies that required personal sun-protection practices, including the use of eyewear, hats, and protective clothing. However, of the 98 responding organizations, only 8 hat policies (8%), 10 eyewear policies (10%), and 7 clothing policies (7%) mentioned sun protection as the intent of the policy. Only cosmopoliteness, operationalized as proximity to an urban area, was associated with the presence of a sun-safety policy (odds ratio, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.98-1.00]; P = .02).

Conclusions and Relevance Outdoor workers are at increased risk for skin cancer because of long-term exposure to solar UV radiation. Although organizational policies have the potential to increase sun protection in occupational settings, occupational sun-safety policies were uncommon among local governments. Opportunities exist for dermatologists and other physicians to influence occupational sun-safety practices and policies, which are consistent with other safety procedures and could easily be integrated into existing workplace practices.

JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(9):991-997. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.0575

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