Sun safety in construction: a profiling and intervention study

Madgwick, Paul. M. (2016) Sun safety in construction: a profiling and intervention study. MRes thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Background: Construction workers spend a large proportion of their work time outdoors, placing them at increased risk for skin cancer. To date, no large-scale studies have examined occupational sun safety knowledge, attitudes, and practices within this group in the UK context. Given the high incidence of skin cancer attributable to sun exposure in construction relative to other occupational groups, interventions to promote sun safety in the UK construction sector are warranted.

Aims: The current investigation has two aims. First, to describe the occupational sun safety knowledge, attitudes, and practices of a large and nationally representative sample of construction workers in the UK. Second, to evaluate change in sun safety knowledge and practices among construction workers in response to an educational intervention.

Methods: The first aim was addressed through the administration of a self-report questionnaire in the summer of 2012. The second aim was addressed through the subsequent administration of a bespoke sector-specific DVD-based intervention. The effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated via the administration of a further questionnaire at 12-month follow-up.

Results: A total of 1,279 workers from 22 organizations completed a baseline (pre-intervention) self-report questionnaire. Findings indicated poor knowledge on the topic and of the measures available to reduce levels of solar ultraviolet radiation exposure. The findings at this stage of the project confirmed the imperative for a tailored, targeted, and evaluable educational intervention that could help to enhance sun safety knowledge, attitudes and behavior in the sector. In relation to the second aim, analyses were conducted on a sample of 120 workers (intervention group, n = 70; comparison group, n = 50). At follow-up the proportion of intervention group participants that reported correct sun safety knowledge was not significantly greater than at baseline. However, the intervention group demonstrated significant positive change on nine out of ten behavioural measures, the greatest change being use of a shade/cover when working in the sun followed by regularly checking skin for moles or unusual changes.

Conclusions: The profiling exercise indicated that there is a need to raise the profile of occupational skin cancer among this population and increase the priority given to occupational sun safety policies alongside targeted, tailored, and evaluable interventions. Exposure to this intervention was linked to some specific positive changes in construction workers’ self-reported sun safety practices. These findings highlight the potential for educational interventions to contribute to tackling skin cancer in the UK construction sector. The findings support the development of bespoke educational interventions for other high-risk outdoor worker groups.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MRes)
Supervisors: Houdmont, J.
Randall, R.
Keywords: Construction, Skin cancer, Solar radiation, Sun safety, Intervention, Transtheoretical model.
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WR Dermatology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 33505
Depositing User: Madgwick, Paul
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 11:54
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 10:14

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