An overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation leads to sunburn. Other effects include premature aging of the skin, pigmentation changes, acute burns, and photosensitivity. Prolonged exposure can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
Employees working outdoors for a significant part of the day are at risk. The following people / situations need special attention.
- Fair‐skinned or red‐haired employees with moles
- Employees working with wood preservatives or other chemicals that can cause increased sensitivity to the sun
- Employees who work in areas with intense reflected sunlight such as industrial roofers, concreting, and external painting
Preventive and Protective Measures
Strategies to control or minimize the effects of UV radiation include, but are not limited to, the following actions:
- Protect all exposed skin surfaces with UV‐blocking creams.
Protect eyes with sunglasses, preferably designed to avoid both direct and peripheral exposure of the eye.
- Do not remove clothing while working outdoors, especially when the sun is at its hottest (the 4 hours around noon).
- Wear long‐sleeved shirts and trousers.
- Wear a safety helmet with a hanging flap at the back to protect the neck.
- Avoid skin reddening, which is the first sign of burning.
- Check the skin, especially the face and backs of hands. Get medical advice if there is a small, scabby spot that does not clear or changes in existing moles or new moles or skin discoloration; treatment is easier if detected earlier.