Sunburn is when your skin is burned by radiation from the sun. Sunburn can cause permanent skin damage. By the time signs and symptoms of sunburn appear, skin damage has already occurred. Not only will radiation from the sun damage your skin – it can damage your eyes and contribute to the development of cataracts.

Skin damage from the sun may be mild or severe, if there is blistering nearing 10% of the body seek medical advice. Long-term effects of repeated sunburn include premature wrinkling and increased risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.

Farmers are at great risk of getting sunburn as their work environment means they spend a lot of time outdoors and exposed to the weather.Sunburn is highly preventable and protection from sun is as simple as wearing a hat, sunglasses, long sleeve shirt and 30+ or 50+ sunscreen on skin not covered by clothing

Having sunscreen available in the workshop, in utes and machinery is bestpractice. It is ideal to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before exposure to the sun.To purchase a Broad-spectrum sunscreen that filters both UVA and UVB radiation. Go to our Safety Shop

Remember to use the combination of five simple sun protection measures during the daily sun protection times. Slip on clothingSlop on SPF50+ or higher sunscreenSlap on a hatSeek shade and Slide on sunglassess.

Be SunSmart!

Using the combination of five simple sun protection measures and avoiding outdoor farming tasks in the middle of the day or when UV radiation is highest, will assist in reducing  the risk of skin cancer.

Slip on long sleeves and pants
Slop on 50+ sunscreen
Slap on hat
Seek shade
Slideon sunglasses

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References used for this topic page

More information:

Cancer Council Australia


National Health Service (UK)



UV & sun protection



Clinical care:

National Center for Biotechnology Information

The evidence on how to best treat sunburn in children: a common treatment dilemma

Research & reviews:

Medical Journal of Australia

Estimates of beneficial and harmful sun exposure times during the year for major Australian population centres

World Health Organization (WHO)

Ultraviolet radiation and human health

Fast facts:


  • Even minor sunburn can lead to damaged skin and skin cancer.
  • Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes of sun exposure for a person with pale skin.
  • Protect your skin – limit exposure, especially in the middle of the day – use a SPF 30+ or 50+Broad-spectrum sunscreen that filters both UVA and UVB radiation and wear abroad brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeved shirt and trousers.
  • Find shade if you can. Plan indoor activities for the middle of the day.
  • Protect your eyes – wear sunglasses fitted with side arms.

Last updated: 15th February, 2018