Sun Safety at Work


It’s that time of year again when the temperature is starting to creep slowly upwards, daylight hours are longer and the sun’s rays are casting their warm glow over us. Whilst this burst of Vitamin D is important for our teeth and bones, overexposure carries with it many risks to our health.

According to Professor Andrew Wright, Consultant Dermatologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,  “15 to 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, without skin reddening or burning, per day should be sufficient for most people to produce the required vitamin D levels. However prolonged sun exposure can have many risk factors:  Sunburns can vary in severity from a slight reddening, to severe blisters and second-degree burns requiring medical attention.  Another significant consequence of sun exposure is the development of skin cancer, such as carcinoma and melanoma.  In addition, prolonged or chronic exposure can age the skin and cause eye irritation.
Sun safety can be a serious health and safety issue for outdoor workers particularly due to the amount of time they spend outdoors.  Occupations such as construction, farming, road maintenance landscaping and gardening. advocate the 5 S’s of safety:
SLIP on protective clothing
SLOP on SPF 30+ broad spectrum UVA sunscreen
SLAP on a sun hat; preferably with sun peak and neck flap
SLIDE on quality sunglasses with European CE mark ensuring a close fit and wrap around.
SHADE from the sun whenever possible; the hours between 11 am and 3 pm are when the sun is at its hottest.

Water, sand and concrete can increase the harmful effects of the sun’s rays as well as some industrial chemicals.

Useful links:  For a Solar UV Index