Smart Sun Protection For Those Who Work Outdoors

 
Because those in the construction industry face a miriad of job-related risks that can pose immediate injuries, the dangers posed by sun exposure are often neglected. But because 90% of skin cancers are directly attributable to sun exposure, those who work outdoors during daylight hours are at a much greater risk for skin cancer. Fortunately, there are steps workers can take to protect themselves -- use these suggestions to keep safe from the sun:  
 
Work in Shade When Possible
You can significantly lower the risk of skin cancer/skin damage by working in shade whenever the situation permits. If possible schedule outdoor work during the early morning or mid-late afternoon hours when this sun is not as strong.  
 
Protect the Head and Neck
Keeping as much of the head and neck covered as possible when in the sun is key in preventing sun damage. Wearing a hat with a brim all the way around can help shade the face, ears, and neck very efficiently. Having a neck shade, especially one with UV protection, that can be easily attached to a hard hat is also a great way to add protection. 
 
Wear UV Glasses 
Wearing glasses and/or safety glasses/goggles not only protects your eyes from foreign objects but also protects your eyes from sun damage. Glasses that have UV protection reduces the risk of cataracts and also protects the delicate skin around the eyes from harmful UV rays. 
 
Apply Sunscreen
Sunscreens work by interacting with skin to protect it from UV rays - most act to lessen damage by either reflecting, absorbing or scattering the sun’s rays. A broad spectrum sunscreen with and SPF of at least 15 should be applied prior to stepping outdoors. Chose one that is water-resistant and reapply every two hours - more often if sweating. Note that the suns rays can be just as damaging on cloudy days so be sure to lather up whether the sun is shining or not. 
 
Cover Up
Look for shirts and pants that have UV protection to help guard against the sun’s rays. It’s a great idea to cover as much of the arms and legs as possible if weather permits. Note that wet clothing does not provide the UV protection that dry clothing does so if clothes become drenched in sweat or wet over the course of working, it might be a good idea to bring an extra shirt or pants. Sweat-wicking clothing is a great option if working in a hot and sunny environment.