Protect outdoor workers from skin cancer risk

A new report has revealed an “urgent need” to protect the UK’s outdoor workers from the most common, yet preventable, cancer, with research showing that two-thirds of employees who work outside stating that they get no help from their employers to protect against skin cancer.

The report on non-melanoma skin cancer reveals that public awareness about non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is worryingly low and that urgent action is needed to improve sun protection for outdoor workers.

NMSC is the most common cancer in the UK, with more new cases diagnosed every year, than breast, prostate and lung cancers combined.

The four most common signs of NMSC are:

  • a scab or sore that won’t heal
  • a scaly or crusty patch of skin
  • a flesh coloured bump that grows
  • a volcano shaped growth, often with a distinctive crater at the top of the lump.


Outdoor workers, such as construction workers and others, are more than twice as likely to develop NMSC as those that work indoors, because of increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun. However, the cancer is largely preventable and there is a legal responsibility for employers to protect the long-term health of their employees under health and safety laws.

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