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Sun safety for events and mass public gatherings

Queensland has a moderate to extreme UV environment all year round, hence sun protection is required every day. It is vital that event organisers consider options to reduce staff, volunteers and attendees UVR exposure risk. Below are some key steps you can take to ensure your event is sun safe.

Protecting staff and volunteers

UVR is known carcinogen and is well-recognised as a major occupational hazard for employees who spend some or a large proportion of their day working outdoors. The Queensland Work Health and Safety Act requires employers to ensure their employees (including volunteers) can work safely and without risk to their health, this includes minimising UVR exposure. Employees also have a responsibility to ensure their own health and safety, including following organisational sun safe policies and using of sun protective clothing and practices.

Here are some recommended approaches to reduce UVR exposure at events and mass gatherings for employees and volunteers.


Appropriate use of sunscreen is an essential component of sun safety. Sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, be broad-spectrum and water resistant. Sunscreen should be stored in a cool place (below 300C) to prevent the chemical composition from degrading.

All persons should be able to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. If security measures prevent sunscreen from being brought into a venue where staff, volunteers and patrons/spectators will be exposed to sunlight, the event organiser has a duty of care to arrange easy access to sunscreen within the venue.

A sunscreen calculator can be used to estimate the amount of sunscreen required per person per day.

Shade creation

Sufficient shade should be available in areas where people gather for long periods of time, such as queuing or open event viewing areas.

Natural shade (trees) should have dense foliage canopies to block UVR and minimise reflected UVR. Built and natural shade planning should address daily shade patterns to ensure shade is provided in the space required at the time of use.

UVR can be reflected from surrounding structures and the environment. Materials that have a lower level of reflectivity should be chosen when planning shade.

Read more on shade creation guidelines and resources.


The Australian Standard for sun protective clothing—Evaluation and classification (AS/NZS 4399:2017) provides a revised UPF classification scheme to communicate the level of protection provided by fabric and specifies the requirements for a minimum level of body coverage for clothing to display or claim a UPF rating.

  • Uniform design should cover as much skin as possible. Collared shirts with long sleeves and long pants provide the best UVR protection.
  • Uniform design should be loose fitting with vented panels and made from lightweight fabric to facilitate air circulation.
  • Fabrics should have an 'excellent' UPF classification, very close weave and be of a darker colour to reduce reflection onto exposed skin. Engineered polyester fabrics have wicking properties that make them cool and comfortable to wear as they draw perspiration away from the body.
  • Sun protective hats need to shade the ears, face, head and neck. The overall protection provided depends on the design and fabric.
    • Broadbrimmed hats should have a brim of least 7.5 cms and bucket hats should have a deep crown, sit low on the head and have an angled brim of at least 6 cm.
    • Caps are not recommended as they do not protect the ears and neck, and provide reduced protection for the face.
  • Eye protection is an important part of sun safety, sunglasses should confirm with the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1067.1:2016 and have an EPF rating of 9-10. Choose a close fitting, wrap around style to minimise UVR entering the eye from the side of the face.

Sun safety education and awareness

Event organisers should develop UV exposure and heat illness guide for each venue. These guidelines should be on display in a prominent location such as a website or noticeboard.

Daily sun protection times for the event should be effectively communicated to staff, volunteers and attendees prior to the event. This information can be displayed via signage at event entry points.

Encourage staff, volunteers and event attendees to use the SunSmart App for helpful information and tools to promote the use of sun protective behaviours.

More information

Last updated: 24 June 2020