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Farmers encouraged to view new SunSmart video

Working outdoors for long period’s means farmers are one of the highest risk groups for skin cancer. Francis Bligh, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist encourages farmers to watch the new SunSmart video here and has details on Healthy Ireland SunSmart steps that farmers can take to be SunSmart.


Recent CSO figures (2018) suggest that almost one in four (26.6%) of skin cancer deaths in Ireland are from the construction, outdoor and farming industry. One death every week in Ireland is related to sun exposure at work. Research by Dr Breda Smyth MD indicates that farmers have 3 times higher cancer mortality than blue/white collar workers, with skin cancer being a major source.   

SunSmart Video

The HSE ‘s National Cancer Control Programme in collaboration with Healthy Ireland and cross-sectoral partners is supporting outdoor workers to be SunSmart to avoid skin cancer. This group working in collaboration with Met Eireann and the Health Innovation Hub has developed a new animation video on how outdoor workers can be SunSmart.

Watch the SunSmart video below 

Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann, said: ‘The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 11am and 3pm from April through September, but particularly in the months of June and July it’s important to remember that just because it is cloudy, skin can still be damaged as clouds don’t always stop harmful UV rays’.

‘You can be SunSmart and protect yourself by following the Healthy Ireland SunSmart steps covering up when outdoors, using sunscreen and by checking the Met Éireann weather forecast and UV index on our website, app and @meteireann twitter’.

The Healthy Ireland SunSmart steps show outdoor workers how they can protect their skin from the sun’s UV rays and reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.

  • Slip on clothing that covers your skin such as, long sleeves, collared t-shirts
  • Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen SPF minimum 30 or higher. Apply 20 minutes before going outside and re-apply every two hours – more often if perspiring.
  • Slap on a wide brimmed hat
  • Seek Shade – especially if outdoors between 11am to 3pm when UV rays are at their strongest. If possible schedule outdoor work before 11am or after 3pm.
  • Slide on wraparound sunglasses

Check Skin/ Contact GP

Check your skin regularly for changes and contact your GP if you notice changes such as a lump or discoloured patch on the skin. Look out for new growth or a sore that does not heal in a few weeks, a spot or sore that itches, hurts, crusts, scabs or bleeds, constant skin ulcers with no other explanation for their cause and new or changing moles.

More Sun Smart Information

For more information check out the SunSmart hub at hse.ie and #SunSmart on social and met.ie/uv-index to learn more about the UV index.

Teagasc recently hosted a sun safety webinar for farmers.

Watch Teagasc SunSmart webinar below 

The Teagasc Health and Safety Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to farmers regularly here on Teagasc Daily 

For more from Teagasc on all aspects of farmer Health and Safety check out Farm Health & Safety