Is wearing hats for sun protection mandatory?
Our school supplies sunscreen to all staff and students. Recently, our sun safety policy has changed and now wearing hats is no longer mandatory for students or teaching staff on playground duty. The policy is now just to provide advice, and to educate staff and students about sun safety. Is this policy in breach of the WHS Act?
It is not a mandatory requirement under the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act) that staff and students wear hats. However, as an employer you have an obligation under the WHS Act to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of those in your workplace.
It would be a reasonably practicable step to direct all staff and students to wear hats. This would also help you to demonstrate that your alternative control, of advising and educating staff and students about sun safety, is also effective against the risk.