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Sun Safety Can Save A Life: Here's How To Protect Employees From The Heat

While the warm temperatures and increased sunshine that summertime brings can be an exciting change of pace for your employees, this seasonal heat can also expose workers to additional life-threatening health risks on-site. Indeed, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun's rays is a serious risk for employees who work outdoors in the summer - recent data found that outdoor workers experience five to 10 times more UV radiation exposure than that of indoor workers. 

And UV radiation exposure can cause more than a temporary sunburn. This risk has lasting impacts that significantly increase the likelihood of your employees suffering from occupational skin cancer, a disease that is responsible for an average of 60 worker deaths in Great Britain each year. What's more, this risk is on the risk - recent research found that there are at least 1,500 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 240 new cases of malignant melanoma in the UK that are linked to UV radiation exposure at work every year. 

However, health and safety experts confirmed that 90 per cent of skin cancer deaths can be prevented if organisations take proper precautions to protect their employees from UV radiation risks. Keep your outdoor workers safe from long-term health complications by implementing the following sun safety guidance during the summer:

  • Encourage protective clothing—Require your employees to wear clothing that can effectively act as a barrier to UV radiation. This includes shirts and trousers with tightly woven fabric, as well as hats that cover the ears and back of the neck (e.g. hats with a brim or flap). Don’t let employees remove their shirts on-site.
  • Offer sun safety advice—Provide workers with sun safety guidance as part of their routine health and safety training. Top measures include wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 15, taking breaks in the shade and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Review signs and symptoms—Educate your employees on how they can check their skin for signs and symptoms of cancer (e.g. unusual spots or moles that change in size, shape or colour). Tell workers to seek medical attention if they have any concerns.

Contains public sector information published by the HSE and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
© 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. This publication is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as compliance or legal advice. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly.