- Sun Safety for Outdoor Workers
There has been an increase of over 20% in the number of skin cancers in the decade from 1992 to 2001 in Canada. The rates are still increasing. The economic burden of skin cancer is estimated to be $15 Million: direct (medical) cost and indirect (lost work, production, etc.) cost together for the year 2004. Prevention behaviours will lessen the risk of developing skin cancer and improve the rate of early detection.
(UV) radiation not only can cause skin cancer, but it can also damage eyes and cause eye disease – which may eventually lead to blindness.
As an outdoor worker, it is important that you protect yourself from these damaging UV rays.
Sun Safety Factsheets
Follow these important sun protection tips:
- The sun’s rays are most intense between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m and when the UV index (internal link) is 3 or greater. Try to minimize outdoor work during these hours as much as possible. If you can’t, try to find shade during your lunch and coffee breaks.
- Umbrellas, tents, canopies, and trees provide shade. Working in shaded areas helps to reduce the damaging effects of UV radiation. Seek shade whenever possible.
- Make protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses that wrap around to protect the eyes from all angles and sunscreens part of your uniform. Your sunscreen should have an SPF 30 or more, be waterproof and protect against UVA and UVB radiation. Carry your sunscreen and lip screen with you, so you can reapply them every 2 hours.
- Be aware that certain medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun. Talk to your health care provider about any medications you are taking.
- “Spot Check” your moles once a month. Know the A, B, C’s of skin cancer and see your health care provider right away if you notice any skin changes.
Protection from the sun is required not only during the summer, but is also important year round.
Remember that most cases of skin cancer are preventable, but its up to you to protect yourself.