Contractors are well aware of the dangers the sun poses when it comes to a hot job site. Heat stroke and other heat-related conditions can cause plenty of medical issues with workers, which is why contractors have to take the right precautions to keep workers safe.
However, heat is not the only problem that the sun creates. There are other concerns contractors must be aware of when it comes to workers’ exposure directly to the sun.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Luckily, the success rate for treating skin cancer is very high when it is caught in its early stages. But if construction workers do not take the proper precautions and have skin that is exposed to direct sunlight for hours every week, then skin cancer can spread and become a real issue.
The most dangerous type of skin cancer is called melanoma. This is an aggressive skin cancer that usually starts as a mole on the skin. The majority of deaths associated with skin cancer are the result of melanoma, but it is a condition that can be cured if discovered early enough.
Time In The Sun
One of the ways contractors can help workers to avoid contracting skin cancer is to offer more frequent breaks during the summer months to get into the shade. Contractors need to become familiar with the UV index, which is a way of measuring the intensity of the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. The scale runs from zero to 11. There are numbers past 11, but any number past 11 is treated as the same intensity as 11.
When the UV level is between eight and 10, the average person can become sunburned in only 20 minutes. Any UV reading of six or higher is considered dangerous and can burn the skin in less than 45 minutes. When construction workers are constantly out in this kind of weather, the possibility for skin cancer dramatically increases.
There are two ways, aside from offering regular shade, that construction companies can help protect workers from UV rays. The first is to insist that workers wear sunscreen every day on exposed skin. A water-resistant sunscreen with a protection level of 30 will help workers to stay safe in most of the UV ranges for 40 to 80 minutes.
The other way to protect workers is to offer loose-fitting clothing that has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). This is lightweight clothing that is designed to protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays. Workers should also be encouraged to wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to protect their faces and eyes from the sun. In hard hat areas, workers should wear light scarfs on their necks to protect from the sun. There are scarfs available that can be soaked in water to offer protection from high temperatures.
Contractors who care for their workers’ safety inspire loyalty and respect from their workers and benefit from a work crew that is healthy and happy in their work. To stay up-to-date on contractor best practices and continuing education in your field, start a course with PDH Contractors today!