Greenkeepers are risking sunburn and cancer

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 6, 2018 12:54

A new survey of 154 greenkeepers has found that many do not use sufficient protection against sunburn and skin cancer.

According to Occupational Medicine, two-thirds of the greenkeepers surveyed – all at Irish golf clubs – were more concerned about work-place injuries such as being hit by a stray ball than they were about sunburn. Greenkeepers aged 45 and older are also less likely to wear protection such as sunscreen and sunglasses than their younger peers.

Despite the workers being exposed to ultraviolet radiation and being at a high risk of developing skin cancer, only one in 10 had received training on sun safety such as using sunscreen, sunglasses and protective clothing.

The researchers found that workers who had a good knowledge of skin cancer were more likely to use sunscreen.

The study’s authors have called for sunscreen and sunglasses to be provided by employers for those working outside to decrease the risk of sun exposure.

Lisa Bickerstaffe, from the British Skin Foundation, said: “Failing to take appropriate measures to protect the skin from UV rays when working outdoors can have potentially life threatening consequences later on.

“Employers of those that work outdoors could provide a uniform that includes sun protective clothing such as legionnaire style hats, long sleeves and sunglasses.

“They could also provide sunscreen and let workers stop for breaks when the UV rays are strongest, between 11am and 3pm.”

Consultant dermatologist, Dr Anjali Mahto, from the British Skin Foundation, added: “Sunburn causes direct damage to DNA in skin cells resulting in inflammation and in extreme cases, cell death. Sunburn will increase the risk of developing skin cancer and care should be taken to limit exposure.

“It’s safe to go out in the sun when wearing sunscreen. When choosing a sunscreen look for a high protection SPF – 30 or more – to protect against UVB, and the UVA circle logo and / or four or five UVA stars to protect against UVA. People should apply plenty of sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapply every two hours and straight after sweating and towel-drying.

“Don’t forget to protect skin with clothing, and wear a hat that protects the face, neck and ears. People should make sure they spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when it’s sunny.”

The study also found that 82 per cent of greenkeepers aged 18 to 44 used sunscreen compared to just 64 per cent of greenkeepers aged 45 years and older, and 64 per cent of greenkeepers aged 18 to 44 wore sunglasses compared to just 46 per cent of greenkeepers aged 45 years and older.


Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 6, 2018 12:54
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  1. Marc November 7, 05:37

    It is good to cover up when you have had enough sun exposure, but avoiding sun exposure is a terrible mistake. Here are some facts you should know:
    •Sun exposure in the U.S. has been reduced by 90% in the last 70-100 years, while the risk of melanoma has increased by at least 3,000%. Then how can anyone believe sun exposure causes melanoma?
    •75% of melanoma occurs on areas of the body that seldom or never receive sun exposure, including inside sex organs, in armpits, in the mouth, on the soles of the feet and on covered areas/
    •Men who are outdoor workers have half the risk of melanoma as men who work indoors.
    •As in the US, while sun exposure in Europe has profoundly decreased, there has been a spectacular increase in melanoma.
    Here are a few more facts about the vital necessity for sun exposure:
    •Women who avoid the sun have an increased risk of breast cancer of 1,000%, compared to those regularly exposed to sun.
    •Women in Spain who actively seek the sun have a reduced risk of hip fracture of 91%.
    •Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay indoors.
    •Multiple sclerosis (MS) is highest in areas of little sunlight, and virtually disappears in areas of year-round direct sunlight like certain areas of the tropics.
    • An Iranian study showed that Women who avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
    •Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.
    •Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin.
    •Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, essential to a properly functioning nervous system.
    •Sun exposure can produce as much as 20,000 IU of vitamin D in 20 minutes of full-body sun exposure. There has also been an 8,300% increase in vitamin D deficiency in children since 2000, which is likely due to insufficient time playing outdoors and/or sunscreen use..

    Reply to this comment
  2. Alex December 19, 13:21

    Of course, golfers are more vulnerable to sunburn and cancer. After all, they are constantly playing under the direct rays of the sun. My father also often plays Golf, and I have seen him come back from the game with severe burns to his hands. We always keep coconut oil or gel from sunburn at home:))

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