Protect Your Workers From the Sun

Close out Skin Cancer Awareness Month with these health and safety tips

May 24, 2022

As May, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, comes to a close, make sure your workers who spend time outside maintaining the exterior of facilities and tending to grounds are protected against the sun.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and includes different types:

  • Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common and begin in the basal (middle) or squamous (top) layers of the epidermis (skin). Both are curable but they can be disfiguring and expensive to treat.
  • Melanoma, the third most common type of skin cancer, begins in the melanocytes, in the lower part of the epidermis. Of all types of skin cancer, melanoma causes the most deaths as it can spread to other parts of the body, including vital organs.

Most cases of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes.

Outdoor workers can protect themselves from excessive UV rays by staying in the shade when the sun is at it’s strongest, from late morning to midafternoon. But if their work will bring them out of the shade, make sure they are wearing:

  • A lightweight long-sleeved shirt and long pants
  • A hat with a wide brim that shades their face, head, ears, and neck
  • Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays
  • Sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection.

Remind your workers to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, and more frequently if they are sweating.


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