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The results of a recent online survey conducted by On The Tools and SIG Roofing, involving over 100 active roofers, has revealed alarming findings. These findings underscore the immediate need for training to reduce skin cancer cases in this high-risk, male-dominated profession. The survey results showed that:

  1. Over 95% of roofers reported repeated sunburn due to working outdoors.
  2. 63% confirmed that they never, rarely or only sometimes use sunscreen.
  3. 60% admitted intentionally exposing unprotected skin to get a sun tan.
  4. 28% stated that using sunscreen took too much effort.
  5. 45% only use sunscreen on hot, sunny days.

The survey was conducted by SIG Roofing in partnership with SKCIN, a national charity specialising in the prevention and early detection of skin cancer through bespoke educational solutions. The purpose of the survey was to gauge the extent of the issue among their roofing customers, and they enlisted the help of On The Tools to carry out the survey through their highly engaging social media channels.

The survey was taken by a representative sample of roofers, 98% of whom were male with over 75% stating they have worked outdoors for more than 15 years, putting them in a very high-risk group for skin cancer.  

Alarmingly, 28% of the respondents reported suffering from sunburn more than 20 times due to working outdoors. Additionally, 28% admitted that applying sunscreen was too much effort. It is evident that more education is needed regarding the damaging effects of UV radiation and the importance of using combined sun protection measures, including applying a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunscreen with the correct frequency.

Sunburn is strongly linked to the development of melanoma, the most serious life-threatening form of skin cancer. But it’s not just sunburn that increases the risk of skin cancer. Even tanning of the skin (a habit of 60% of respondents) is a clear sign of sun damage. UV damage is cumulative and irreparable and is responsible for 90% of the UK’s most commonly diagnosed cancer.

"The results may be alarming, but they do not surprise me."
Kathryn Clifford
Co- Founder of Skcin

Kathryn explained that this was the reason the charity developed the national Sun Safe Workplaces accreditation and training programme for employers of outdoor workers and why SIG Roofing signed up to raise awareness at scale through their 100+ branch network.

Prevention is better than cure, however for many working across the industry, it’s clear that damage is already done. Where prevention fails, the early detection and diagnosis of skin cancer can make significant improvement in patient outcomes and ultimately save lives.

With almost half (48%) of respondents unaware of how to check their skin for signs and symptoms of skin cancer, this further validates the need for educational intervention. The Sun Safe Workplaces training programme also educates outdoor workers on this vital element of awareness, giving them the knowledge and confidence to recognise changes that could indicate the early warning signs and the importance of getting concerns checked out as soon as possible by their GP.

SIG Roofing is currently using the Sun Safe Workplaces training programme to educate their branch staff on sun-safe practices, as well as how to recognise the early signs of skin cancer and the importance of conducting regular self-examinations. Keen to support the wider industry, if you are interested in finding out more about how to train your customers, please ask your SIG Roofing account manager, who can provide access to an online training package. All SIG Roofing branches will also have sunscreen stations dispensing SPF30+ sunscreen, free for colleagues and customers to use, by the end of June.

 Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK and outdoor workers, are on average at 60% greater risk. It is the UK’s fastest-rising cancer and one that is rising at twice the rate in men than that for women, with men reportedly 69% more likely to die from the disease. Annually, there are over 230,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 17,500 cases of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) diagnosed. Statistics also reveal that it is killing more people here than in Australia, which is known as the UV capital of the world.

Up to 90% of skin cancers are preventable by adopting simple sun-safe habits to your daily routine. Skin cancer is the only cancer we can physically see developing in its early stages, and if detected, diagnosed and treated early enough, almost all cases are curable. So learning about the risks associated with UV exposure, how to prevent skin cancer and how to spot early signs and symptoms are critical. It is this awareness and education, particularly in men and particularly in jobs exposed to regular sunlight, that made it a perfect charity partnership for SIG Roofing.

Registered Office: SIG Trading Limited, Adsetts House, 16 Europa View, Sheffield Business Park, Sheffield, S9 1XH. Registered in England No. 01451007 VAT No. GB 487 01733