Thursday, 25 November 2021 09:55

Avoiding harm in the sun

Written by  Staff Reporters
All farmers have to be careful in the sun but farmers in more northern parts of the country experience higher UV radiation for longer. All farmers have to be careful in the sun but farmers in more northern parts of the country experience higher UV radiation for longer.

With summer around the corner, farmers are being urged to take steps to lower their risk of skin cancer.

People who work outside receive up to 10 times more UV radiation exposure than indoor workers, putting them at higher risk of developing skin cancer, according to the Cancer Society.

It says not everyone realises the hidden hazard of over-exposure to ultra-violet (UV) radiation.

Additionally, items that can protect you from UV radiation, like sun protective clothing, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are tax deductable for farmers who are self employed.

Cancer Society medical director Dr Kate Gregory says skin cancer is the most common cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"Fortunately, we now know that there are things we can do to lower our risk. It is important that we embed SunSmart practices in our lives from a very young age as UV damage accumulates over time.

"Also, if you are working outside, it is essential that you take steps to protect yourself from UV radiation. It i never too late to start.

"These actions can make a real difference in reducing the risk of skin cancers."

Otago Farmer Jeremy Wales, from Baldwin Farm, in the Knobbie Range has been farming for 24 years. Generally a man of few words he still wants to spread the message of taking care while working outdoors. "The sun is hard and hot in Central, and you don't want to get done over by skin cancer! Cover up, wear a hat, and put your sunnies on."

Gregory notes that most skin cancers can be treated successfully if caught early.

"It is so important for everyone, particularly those spending large amounts of time outdoors, to regularly check their skin.

"And remember that you cannot see or feel UV radiation - it can be harmful even on a cool or cloudy day. Because UV damage accumulates over time, we recommend that farmers use sun protection all day.

"Be particularly careful from the beginning of September to April between the hours of 10am-4pm when UV levels are highest."

All farmers have to be careful in the sun but farmers in more northern parts of the country experience higher UV radiation for longer.

Tips When Out on the Farm

Wear items that can protect you while outdoors. Depending on the requirements, this could include:

  • A wide-brimmed hat or helmet with a peak and neck guard (legionnaire's flap)
  • A long-sleeved, collared shirt (wear the collar upturned to protect your neck, a common place for skin cancers), ideally in a tight-weaved, dark fabric
  • Close-fitting, wrap-around sunglasses that meet safety and sun protection standards (check the label).
  • Slip into shade if possible, if not, try to schedule outside tasks when UV radiation levels are lower, such as early morning or late afternoon.

More like this

The wet, the dry and the ugly

A bizarre weather pattern is dividing the country right down the middle, with some areas facing serious drought and others swamped with too much rain.

Medium-scale drought declared

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today officially classified the drought conditions in Northland as being a medium-scale adverse event.


Dairy tops organic exports

Dairy has been named as New Zealand’s largest organic sector with exports of $153.8 million, up 55% from 2017.

Machinery & Products

Gongs for John Deere

The tractor of the Year 2022 Awards, held at the recent EIMA show in Bologna, handed out a brace of…

Digital pre-start safety checks

According to numbers published by ACC, more than 60 farm-related injuries are reported every day, leaving much room for improvement.

JV for Bucket Test App

Irrigation NZ and global farm management company CropX have established a joint venture agreement for the Bucket Test app.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Poo-powered BMW

OPINION: Car maker BMW is partnering with a California dairy farm to turn effluent into clean energy to power its…

Not bad

OPINION: New Zealand may be a minnow on the global stage but here’s another example how our ag sector punches…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter