Protecting your skin against outdoor working conditions is of such importance. Spring has definatly arrived in the UK and the warmer temperatures will bring their dangers. We all the love the sunny weather, but it is actually one of the biggest dangers facing anyone who works outside on a long-term basis.
Despite all the other dangers of working on exterior construction sites, it is the sun that poses one of the biggest risks. UK employment law dictates that employees should be provided with – and wear – hard hats, high visibility jackets and toe-capped boots when working on sites for their own protection. However, there is little or nothing in the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 or the Personal Protective Equipment Act of 1992 about protection against the harmful rays of the sun.
Outdoor workers receive five to ten times more ultraviolet radiation exposure than their indoor counterparts, which in turn leads to an increased skin cancer risk.
UV radiation is classed as a Class 1 Carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Just to give you an insight into what that means, tobacco and asbestos are also both Class 1. So, the risk from the sun is very real indeed.
As you might expect, sunscreen is a vital part of the protection for any outdoor worker against the sun. However, it alone is not sufficient. You are also recommended to use protective clothing and a hat, and avoid being outdoors whenever possible. This is especially true during the hottest parts of the day. Even when the sun is not shining or the day is overcast, you should never underestimate the power of UV radiation.
Remember that damage by UV radiation is permanent and irreparable. It is also accumulative, so increases with each further exposure to the sun. And while many forms of skin cancer are treatable if detected early enough, it is always better to prevent then cure.Protecting your skin
It is the responsibility of employers to protect their staff, so why not think about introducing a sun policy for those who do work outside? The potential danger of the sun may not be as visible or obvious as that of falling objects but it still needs to be taken into account. Having the right procedures in place can help this to happen. Monitor and review this policy carefully and work with staff to develop the best means of keeping everyone safe at all times.
The health of our skin, often closely associated with exposure to sun, is very important and often overlooked in the workplace. It’s time that this changed. Protecting your skin is so important.