Wearing a hat – Three benefits for the price of one
The 2017 National Primary School SunSmart Survey revealed that only 45% of WA primary schools have all teachers wearing hats when outside at lunchtime. Wearing a hat when you’re outside shouldn’t be difficult. It’s important for your own health and crucial in passing on health messages to children. If Western Australia’s high rates of skin cancer aren’t enough to convince your staff to wear a hat, here are two more reasons.
- Occupational Health and Safety. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a class one carcinogen and causes skin cancer. This means UV is a foreseeable harm. Part of a teacher’s or education assistant’s job is to be outside for lessons or to supervise students during breaks. A school that does not require staff members to wear a sun protective hat while outside is failing to protect them from foreseeable harm and failing in its duty of care. This leaves the door open for possible WorkCover or civil compensation claims. Employees also have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and cooperate with employers’ efforts to improve health and safety.
- Role modelling. Most primary schools require students to wear a hat. Often this is a school rule and aims to ensure that students are protected from UV exposure. How can school staff enforce a rule that they are not prepared to follow themselves?
If you wear a hat and be a good role model, your example will encourage kids to keep wearing their hats too. Kids copy the people they look up to and will be more likely to wear a hat during and out of school hours if their role models wear one too.
Why not put yourself in the middle of this Venn diagram with a hat on? Reduce your personal risk of skin cancer, contribute to a safer work environment and show the kids that hats matter all the time. They’ll thank you for it later.