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Staying Safe on Site in the Summer

30 Jul 2015

As a construction professional, it is highly likely that you spend a large part of your working day outside.  During the summer months this leads to increased risk in a number of areas and it is vital to address these risks for the sake of you, your family and your colleagues.

We’re all familiar with slapping on sun cream when we jet off to sunnier climes on our holidays, however every employee also has the right to be safe in sun at work too.

The stark reality is that cancers caused by our occupations account for 666,000 deaths worldwide each year[i]!  Recent research conducted by IOSH and Imperial College Londonhttps://www.imperial.ac.uk/ found that 2% of all cases of cutaneous malignant melanoma in Britain can be attributed to occupational exposure to solar radiation, in a single typical year that's 46 deaths and 239 new cases of malignant melanoma. The construction industry accounts for a large number of these cases, with 44 per cent of the deaths and 42 per cent of the registrations[ii].

The occupational health hazards of working outside during the hottest time of day between 11:00 – 1500 can cause lasting damage to your health.

Key risks of outdoor working for construction professionals

  • Skin cancer
  • Sunburn
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke
  • Eye damage
  • Dehydration

Many of our partners have already signed up to IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign pledging to reduce the risks of harmful exposure to their employees. It is vital that individuals take action to protect themselves and those around them by following these 6 simple steps:-

The 6 Ss of Sun Safety

1.       SLIP on PPE to cover up. Synthetic fibres provide better protection
2.       SLOP on SPF 30+ sunscreen
3.       SLAP on a wide brimmed hat
4.       SLIDE on UV protective sunglasses
5.       SIP water regularly avoid dehydration
6.       SHADE seek shade wherever possible

Over 80% of skin cancers can be avoided by following the steps above. Learn how to check your skin and if in doubt check with your GP.

You can follow the #NoTimeToLose conversation on Twitter for more information.

If you have other summer safe working tips or have been affected by any of the issues covered by this post, please share your thoughts below in the comments.

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