The Sometimes Overlooked Workforce Hazard…the Sun

In the agriculture and heavy equipment industry many jobs are performed outside. Road work, construction, landscaping and farming are all done, for the most part, outdoors. Now that we are well into Spring and with Summer just around the corner it’s a good time to discuss health and safety when working outdoors in the sun.

May is National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness month. Even though May is almost over, skin care is important year round. We may always remember the sunscreen when we go to the beach or the pool, but do we remember to wear it the rest of the time? When you are out on the job-site you may be in the direct sun for several hours at a time meaning you are at risk for serious damage. This CWS blogger’s grandparents were farmers who spent decades and countless hours outside in the direct sun working the fields. Now, they are experiencing episodes of skin cancer and melanoma as a result of not knowing enough about protecting themselves from the sun. Don’t let this happen to you, your employees, or customers! In addition to skin cancer, the hot sun can cause heat exhaustion as well so follow these tips to help keep everyone safe now and for the future.

  • Always wear a high SPF sunscreen on all exposed skin and reapply every few hours or if you get wet or sweat excessively
  • As job and safety requirements permit, wear a hat with a wide brim or bill that can shade your neck, nose and face. Many hard hats can have a brim or neck flap attached.
  • Wear clothes that can block sun rays from penetrating the skin
  • If possible, avoid the most intensive sun hours between 10am and 4pm
  • Keep umbrellas, tents or other shade structures handy
  • Drink lots of water
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Know the warning signs of skin cancer

For more details about any of these tips and more information about protecting outdoor workers from the sun visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website.

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