Sun Safety Can Save a Life: Protect Your Employees From The Heat

With the warm temperatures, increased sunshine and seasonal heat that summertime brings, it is important to make sure your employees are protected from 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 rise—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 (eg 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 (eg unusual spots or moles that change in size, shape or colour). Tell workers to seek medical attention if they have any concerns.
(The above contains public sector information published by the HSE and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0)