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DB Blog #62 – Sun Damage

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Take a look at the following blog which has been prepared by SC Johnson outlining the need for sun protection when working outdoors. 

(According to Cancer UK, clouds block some UV rays, but over 90% can still pass through light cloud and cause sunburn. [9])

Summer is here: are your outdoor workers prepared?

Experts believe that 90% of all skin cancer deaths could be prevented, if over exposure to UV is controlled[1]. Summer has arrived here in the UK and with it we could see a UV index of up to 8[2], which is classed as ‘very high’.[3] It is key to remember that additional protection against UV exposure is recommended from a UV index of 3 and above.[4] Additionally, the UV index can still be high even when the sun is not out as even when it is cloudy up to 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through.[5]

Those who work outdoors, such as construction workers, builders and farmers, can be at particularly high risk of over exposure, especially during the summer months. They spend the majority of their working day in the light of a silent threat to the health of their skin.

When it comes to employer responsibility, the Health and Safety at Work Act states that there is a legal duty to safeguard, as far as is reasonably practical, the health of employees. It also states that employers must provide “information, instruction, training and supervision” to ensure their workforce’s safety [6].

The Management of Health and Work Regulations requires employers to conduct a suitable assessment of the risks to the health of their workforce, including those risks from UV radiation [7]. Finally, according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines, UV radiation should be considered an occupational hazard for those who work outdoors [8].

SC Johnson Professional recently surveyed health and safety officials at UK companies on attitudes to UV best practice, with 114 people participating. The four-year research project was intended to understand the gaps in awareness and any challenges employers face. It was found that health and safety professionals knew that there was a gap in knowledge when it came to training, but were unsure of how to tackle this: 1 in 2 organisations surveyed carried out no training on when and how to use UV protection.

A skin care programme is essential when it comes to raising awareness around the risks and encouraging proper skin protection against UV rays. Informative training on best practice can be delivered via ‘Toolbox Talks’, and video case studies can help underline real world examples of how over exposure can impact on health. The training should also highlight the ‘5 S approach’ – slip, slop, slap, slide and shade – an approach which can significantly contribute to the prevention of excessive UV exposure.

In February 2020 skin care experts SC Johnson Professional surveyed health and safety professionals on UV practice and protection in their workplace, building on worker research conducted over the two years previous. Striving to deliver enhanced training and end user support, as well as looking to raising awareness of this important issue, SC Johnson Professional’s research aimed to learn more about general UV awareness in industry, what protection was provided to employees, if and how training was implemented and what health and safety professionals were looking for in terms of best practice guidance.

As a registered distributor for SC Johnson products, we can help you with the right sun products and training to suit you.  Email us here or call us on 023 9243 4505 to arrange for a Sales Executive to meet with you to discuss available products and training options.

According to Cancer UK, clouds block some UV rays, but over 90% can still pass through light cloud and cause sunburn. [9]

Yours, DB