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Measured Solar Ultraviolet Radiation Exposures of Outdoor Workers in Queensland in the Building and Construction Industry


  • Posted on the website on 24 August 2003

To whom correspondence should be addressed at: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), Lower Plenty Road, Yallambie, Melbourne, Victoria 3085, Australia. Fax: 61-3-9432-1835;


The risk to outdoor workers of exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has been known for some time, particularly in the building and construction industry, where workers often use little in the way of protection against solar UVR. In recent years there have been attempts by authorities in Australia and in Queensland in particular, where UVR levels in spring and summer are very high to extreme, to instigate and to encourage the use of personal UVR protection by outdoor workers. To quantify UVR exposure of building and construction industry workers involved in typical outdoor work, a study was conducted using UVR-sensitive polysulphone film badges. The results indicated that the doses were significant, often well in excess of recommended exposure limits. The measured exposures varied between trades. Data on the use of personal UVR-protective equipment and the skin type of workers were also collected. Many of the workers had skin types that were sensitive to UVR and showed signs of sunburn. In summary, the study found that at-risk individuals were exposed to extreme levels of UVR, in most cases without adequate and appropriate sun protection.