Silviculture worker loses part of ear to skin cancer

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
BC Interior Region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-04-09
Company Name: 
BC Safe Forestry Program (courtesy of Jordan Tesluk)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A silviculture worker was diagnosed with skin cancer, and part of his ear was removed.

Silviculture workers, including tree planters, spend long periods of time outside in the sun at the hottest time of year. Prolonged UV Exposure is recognized as causal to skin cancer.

Workers should know there are different types of skin cancer, including Basal Skin Cancer and potentially fatal Squamous Cell Skin Cancer that are most frequently found on sun exposed skin such as face, neck, and hands. Malignant Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, but growing in frequency, more dangerous, and potentially fatal unless detected and treated at an early stage.

People can have different levels of vulnerability to skin cancers, based on their skin tone, family history, and the state of their immune system.

(See attached pdf for a personal story on the increased risk of skin cancer for silvicultural workers.)

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Employers should educate workers about skin cancer, and the factors that can increase personal risk
  • Workers should cover skin with high SPF sunscreen, wide brimmed hats, and clothing with a high SPF
  • Working with no shirt on for long periods should be strongly discouraged
  • Workers with unusual lumps of growths should immediately consult a physician
  • Extra care should be taken during summer days of peak exposure, including days of light overcast
  • Workers should be encouraged to check their skin frequently and ask for help in checking hard to see areas such as back and neck.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Canadian Dermatology Association web page on sun safety:

http://www.dermatology.ca/programs-resources/resources/sun-safety/

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Skin_Cancer-Apr-9-2017.pdf

Read or download here & share with your workers.

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