Step 1: Plan - Be Sunsible Program - Be Sunsible – Protecting Outdoor Workers

Planning for a Supportive Workplace Environment

The core of a strong sun safety program is creating a supportive workplace environment that paves the way for creating a culture of sun safety in which making sun safe choices becomes the easy choice for all outdoor workers.

To accomplish this, you must first understand the role that five strategic areas – known as the 5 Pillars of Success – play in the successful implementation of the Be Sunsible Program and then take some time to plan for how you will act in all five strategic areas before moving on to Step 2.


5 Pillars of Success

Building each of these five strategic areas into your sun safety program will help to mobilize your program, and make it more effective and sustainable.

This means thinking through everything from establishing buy-in all the way to evaluation right from the beginning so that as your plan rolls out, every strategic area has been thoughtfully integrated along the way.

An essential first step to developing your sun safety program is to gain support from leadership. Gaining leadership commitment is important to ensure that human and financial resources are dedicated to your program1-4 and that the program is valued by your organization.

Building leadership and management commitment to sun safety will ensure that:

  • Time and money is invested in the program.
  • Required training and policies are promoted and enforced.
  • Sun safety behaviours and attitudes are role modeled by leaders.
  • The initiative is sustained over time.

To get leadership support, engage early with management and build a business case for why a sun safety program is needed1-4.

To build a strong business case you will need:

  • A rationale for the importance of sun safety.

    Tip: Review your organization’s commitment to other OH&S hazards and highlight that UVR exposure is a significant health and safety concern to outdoor workers.

  • An understanding of the benefits a workplace health program would have for your organization and the costs of doing nothing.

    Tip: Use the Be Sunsible Business Case [PDF] to tailor a business case unique to your company.

  • Examples of what a sun safety program could include.

    Tip: Check out our Be Sunsible Resources for some great examples of what you can include in your sun safety program.

An integrated sun safety program means that sun safety is a part of common workplace practices. It requires effort and cooperation between different departments in an organization. In fact, to be fully integrated into your workplace, sun safety should be part of your organization’s business plan.

An integrated and strategic sun safety program should address both the physical work environment (administrative and engineering controls), and support individual outdoor workers (personal protective equipment and training for employees). Ideally, all workplaces should have a comprehensive sun safety policy that spans all of these strategic areas.

For successful integration of your sun safety program:

  • Involve individuals from all areas of the organization (OH&S representatives, HR representatives, workers at risk of UVR exposure, management) – Create a Workplace Health Committee [PDF].
    • Once you've committed to developing and promoting a sun safe workplace, individuals from all areas of the organization (OH&S, HR and workers) should be involved in the process. These committed team members who share a common vision of sun safety will play a key role in promoting the initiative among co-workers and gaining buy-in from senior management.
  • Determine and share your goals and vision for a Be Sunsible program that your organization can integrate into your existing OH&S plans.
  • Include workplace health in the business plan.
  • Share workplace health responsibilities between staff and departments.

Effective communication is essential for engaging employees in discussions about sun safety, as well as providing information and promoting workplace health and sun safety programs and activities. Without effective communication, employees will not be aware of, engaged in, or participate in, programs and activities.

Strategies to increase communication in your workplace include:

  • Using multiple methods or channels (i.e., health interest survey, suggestion box) to engage employees.
  • Offering and promotion a variety of sun safety educational materials (i.e., posters, e-blasts) to employees.
  • Displaying policies prominently and offering ongoing training to staff.
  • Using a variety of communication channels to suit the needs of unique worksites (early morning or end of day huddles on site for outdoor workers, or workers who don’t have access to a computer).

Engagement and participation of employees at all levels during the development and implementation of sun safety programs and activities is important. To improve engagement in your sun safety activities think about:

  • Using multiple methods or channels to engage employees (i.e. health interest survey, suggestion box).
  • Basing sun safety activities on employees' interests and needs.
  • Providing work time for employees to participate in sun safety activities.

Evaluation is used to measure the acceptability and effectiveness of sun safety programs and activities, and provides critical information about your program. This information can be used to continuously improve future sun safety initiatives. Some examples of how evaluation and continuous improvement can be used to increase the effectiveness of your sun safety program include:

  • Collecting data to inform the planning of your sun safety program and activities.
  • Analyzing data to identify changes over a period of time or outdoor worker feedback on the acceptability of the program.
  • Reporting back to the leaders and employees.
  • Revising your program based on the analyzed data.

  1. Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario. (2015). Workplace Mental Health Promotion: A How-to-Guide. The Health Communication Unit at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto & the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario. Retrieved from
  2. Burton, J. (2010). WHO Healthy Workplace Framework and Model: Background and Supporting Literature and Practices. World Health Organization. Retrieved from
  3. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Workplace Health Promotion. Retrieved from
  4. Regional Public Health. (2012). A Guide to Promoting Health and Wellness in the Workplace. Retrieved from
  5. Orenstein, M. R., Dall, T., Curley, P., Chen, J., Tamburrini, A. L., & Petersen, J. (2010). The economic burden of occupational cancers in Alberta. Calgary, AB: Alberta Health Services.
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