Addressing The Hazards Of Sun Exposure In Construction

Because construction work is dangerous, workers don’t always view the risks of sun exposure as a top priority. But workers in the industry are at a much greater risk for skin cancer than the general population because of their constant exposure to the sun. Even when it’s cloudy outside, workers are still exposed to harmful UV radiation from the sun so it’s important to learn some basic strategies to protect against sun damage with the following guidelines:

  • If possible, schedule work to reduce exposure to the sun during the time between 10am and 4pm - the time when the sun is strongest.
  • When working and taking a break, try to do so in a shaded area out of the sun.
  • Wear safety glasses that also protect the eyes from UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Use a neck shade that attaches to the hard hat. Some neck shades are designed to block up to 99% of the sun’s harmful rays while also providing the high visibility of fluorescent colors so it’s doing double duty.
  • Be mindful of working near materials that magnify the sun’s rays such as metal, water and concrete.
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every two hours when working outdoors. If possible use a sweat-resistant sunscreen that will adhere to the skin better in hot, humid working conditions.

Be sure to check your skin monthly and see your doctor if there are moles that change in shape, color or size. Also be wary of new growths and sores that don’t go away and report them to your doctor or dermatologist as well.