While sun exposure is essential for our general health and to provide us with our much needed natural supply of Vitamin D, it can cause serious issues, especially if we are exposed to it for a long period of time.
Issues such as skin cancer, caused by the UV rays from the sun, can be serious yet it can be easily prevented if we just protect our skin.
Outdoor workers are at a much higher risk of getting skin cancer than other workers due to their prolonged exposure to the sun, so to protect your workers (or yourself if you are an outdoor worker) we’ve outlined some essential advice below to beat the heat!
Employer Protective Measures for Outdoor Workers
1. Provide shade if possible
2. Check the UV index is below 3
3. Plan inside work when sun rays are at their most intense (1100-1500)
4. Limit duration of exposure when UV index is high (3 or above)
5. Ensure breaks are taken out of direct sunlight
6. Provide suncream (SPF of at least 30 and with a UVA label)
7. Provide other sun safety measures (hats, sunglasses etc)
8. Give information to employees about the dangers of sun exposure
9. Increase awareness and encourage sun protection
10. Inform and encourage the following of the Sun Smart Code
11. Educate and encourage employees to self-check their skin for signs of skin cancer
The most important sun safety measure that you can implement in your business is education. Your outdoor workers need to be made aware of the dangers of the sun and prolonged exposure, and they need to take safety measures seriously.
Although the instinct is to strip off when we are hot, employers need to be strongly advising against this and instead, encouraging employees to cover up and to keep clothing on that has a high UV protection factor (UPF) of 15 or more with long sleeves and collars up.
To stress the importance of this, you can teach your outdoor workers about the Sun Smart Code.
The Sun Smart Code
The best way to educate employees about sun safety is to make it as simple as possible so that they can understand it and follow it easily while at work.
All they need to know is:
1. Always check the UV index – if it is 3 or more, the Sun Smart Code needs to be followed
2. Seek shade where possible – especially when UV rays are at their most intense
3. Clothes are better than no clothes – even if they are hot, it is important for protection
4. Always wear suncream – SPF of 30 or more and make sure it has a UVA label
5. Wear a hat or sunglasses for extra protection – it’s important to protect their eyes as straining can cause further issues such as migraines and the deterioration of their eyesight.
As employers, it is our duty to ensure the safety of our employees at all times and this includes the risks from the sun when working outdoors. Keep yours safe with this essential advice.
Need More Help with Your Overall Health & Safety Strategy?
ActiveHSE provides many publications and resources on Health and Safety, including policy log books and checklists that can be tailored to your business. If you need any advice or guidance on which ones you need, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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