Recent studies by IOSH (the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) hasve found some worrying facts about skin cancer and employees working outdoors, in particular in construction.
The research found that around 50 people die in the UK of skin cancer after being exposed to the sun while at work and that nearly 250 new cases of malignant melanoma are registered each year from people working outdoors. The construction industry accounted for almost half of the deaths and almost 42% of the cases, with men being affected more than women, accounting for 39 of the deaths and 184 of the cases. It was also found that construction workers were outside for an average of 7 hours a day and that 60% had been sunburned at least once in the past year, yet only 33% thought they were at risk of cancer.
So what can companies do to protect their employees?
- Include sun protection advice in health and safety training.
- Provide regular updates on the UV index from weather forecasts
- Reduce sun exposure in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest
- Encourage employees to wear long sleeved and loose fitting tops and trousers
- Encourage workers to use sunscreen and to drink plenty of water
With many workers believing they can't get burned on a cloudy day, companies need to ensure employees working outdoors understand the risk of skin cancer and help them to protect themselves.
Further information on workplace sun exposures can be found in the HSE's advice leaflet INDG337 – Sun Protection. Advice for employers of outdoor workers
The findings of IOSH’s studies are being published as part of its No Time To Lose campaign.
Wed, 05/20/2015 – 20:30
How can companies protect their outdoor workers from skin cancer?
Protecting outdoors workers from skin cancer