Here Comes the Sun to a Construction Site near You!
We’ve been enjoying some pretty unusual weather here in the UK in recent weeks – the sun has been shining and temperatures have soared! Whether this is just a bit of good luck or a result of global warming is up for debate but one thing’s for sure – those who work out of doors are at more risk of the effects of the sun than most. In the construction industry, a large percentage of workers are expected to work out of doors, so today we’re going to give you some tips on how to avoid sun damage from the ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.
While working out of doors and being exposed to the sunlight for more time than is healthy causes skin damage to everybody, there are some people who need to take extra care in the bright sunshine – this includes those who have:
· Red or fair hair and light coloured eyes
· Fair or freckled skin that goes red and burns before it tans
· A large number of moles (not the tiny animals!).
Everybody needs to take care to avoid damage to the eyes, dehydration and overheating.
The short term effects of too much sun will be sunburn which blisters and peels. However long term exposure to sunlight has more serious consequences as there’s an increased risk of developing skin cancer. The following tips will help you to protect yourself from the effects of the sun when working out of doors:
· Keep your top on
· Use a high factor sun cream of at least SPF15 on all exposed skin, including your face, ears, neck, forearms and hands
· Stay in the shade as much as is possible
· If possible, wear a hat with a brim or flap that covers the ears and back of the neck
· Check your skin regularly for moles or spots and see your doctor immediately if you find anything that changes shape, size or colour – also anything that bleeds or becomes itchy
Over the past twenty years or so the rates of malignant melanoma in Britain have risen faster than any of the top ten cancers in males and females amongst those who work out of doors. Construction workers are six times more likely to develop skin cancer than the general population.
Although the sun is a good source of Vitamin D, every time you get sunburned increased the risk of developing skin cancer, so it’s really worth paying attention to sun safety. Don’t rely on the fact that you can “feel” yourself getting burned by the sun – you can’t, especially in windier conditions which may give a false sense of security due to the wind chill factor.
The World Health Organisation has developed a rating system that can be used to protect you against sunburn, but this only works if you pay attention and take the necessary preventive measures outline below.