Tag Archive for: sun protection

Sun Safety: 5 Tips Employees Should Know

When your job requires you to be out in the sun, employers should take steps to protect their workers. Prolonged sun exposure can be extremely hazardous, and no employee should have to work in conditions that pose a threat to their health and safety. Here are some of the dangers of sun exposure and five tips employees should know about working in these conditions. 

What Are the Dangers of Workplace Sun Exposure?

Anyone who works outdoors is at risk of a sun-related injury or illness. Of course, employees in some industries are exposed to the sun more than others. These include:

  • Construction workers
  • Electrical workers
  • Oil and gas workers
  • Landscapers
  • Delivery drivers
  • Agriculture workers

Here are some of the most common dangers of workplace sun exposure:


Sunburn is probably the most common issue related to occupational sun exposure. Sunburns can happen quickly and will diminish the skin’s ability to release excess heat. Even a mild sunburn can progress if not treated. More severe sunburns can lead to peeling and blistering. 

Eye Problems

Workers often underestimate the damage that UV rays can have on their eyes. Prolonged sun exposure can cause allergic conjunctivitis, which is characterized by swollen, red, irritated eyes. Some workers can also develop cataracts due to excessive sun exposure over time. 

Skin Cancer

According to one disturbing statistic, outdoor workers are up to 3.5 times more likely than indoor workers to develop skin cancer. While some workers have a higher risk than others, such as those with fair skin, skin cancer can be a deadly disease if not detected and treated appropriately. 

Heat-Related Illnesses

Outdoor workers are also at risk of succumbing to various heat-related illnesses. Depending on the outdoor conditions and the worker’s overall health, these can range from things like mild dehydration and headaches to severe, life-threatening issues like heat stroke. 

Sun Safety — 5 Tips Employees Should Know

Employers are obligated to minimize the hazards their workers face. Encouraging sun protection and providing safeguards against harmful UV rays can help create a safe and healthy workplace for outdoor workers. Here are five tips employees and employers should know about sun safety: 

1. Have a Safety Plan

Too much sun exposure isn’t good for anyone. However, some people might be more prone to developing skin cancer than others. Even if workers know their risk factors, it’s important to take every necessary precaution. This includes minimizing UV exposure and having regular checkups with a dermatologist. 

2. Wear Protective Clothing

One of the most effective barriers between you and the sun is the right protective clothing. Specifically, the clothing you wear should cover as much skin as possible and be made of close-weaved fabric to block out UV rays. In addition to clothing, wear a wide-brimmed hat that offers plenty of coverage for your face and neck. 

3. Use Sufficient Sunscreen

When working outdoors, you should always wear sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF and preferably a product that is water-resistant so that it won’t deteriorate with sweat. The sunscreen you choose should also state that it protects against harmful UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays, which may require that you look for occupational sunscreen. Finally, make sure you re-apply the product every two to three hours to ensure adequate protection. 

4. Protect Your Eyes

UV radiation can not only cause a significant sunburn on your eyelids, but it can also damage various parts of your eye, such as your lens and cornea. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVB and UVA rays and screen out at least 75% of visible light. 

You may also wish to look for close-fitting or wrap-around sunglasses that provide eye protection from every angle. Even though some contact lenses say they offer UV protection, you should still supplement these with proper sunglasses.

5. Seek Shelter from the Sun

Shade can be one of the best barriers between the sun and your skin, so it’s critical to seek shade whenever possible, especially during the hottest times of the day when UV rays are the strongest. 

If an outdoor job must be done during this time, consider constructing a temporary structure that can be used for shaded breaks. Just remember, however, that you can still be exposed to UV rays in the shade and even while riding in a vehicle.

Are You Safe from the Sun at Your Workplace?

Overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer, dehydration, and even stroke. The worst part is that these things are highly preventable. If you have become ill due to occupational exposure to the sun, it’s important you understand your rights under OSHA. 

Every employer has an obligation to provide a safe workplace that protects workers from harm. Appropriate safeguards and training are essential parts of workplace preparedness. To learn more about asserting and protecting your rights, contact an OSHA Injury Attorney directly.