Summer sun could put outdoor contractors at risk warns ECIS.
With summer finally here, ECIS is reminding contractors to protect themselves and their employees from harmful sun exposure. Studies have confirmed that those working outdoors have a far greater risk of skin cancer, despite growing awareness of the importance of covering up and wearing sun cream.
According to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), malignant melanoma kills nearly 50 people in the UK each year because of exposure to the sun at work. Diagnosis rates are rising faster than any of the other top 10 cancers in the UK and men are at greater risk of dying from skin cancer.
In 2015 the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) released the results of a new study into melanoma. The findings showed that 72% of people had been sunburnt within the past year – more than doubling their risk of developing melanoma. The figures show that more than 2,100 Britons die from skin cancer every year – around six people every day. Whilst doctors recommend conducting monthly checks for signs of skin cancer, BAD’s survey reveals that 40% of people never check themselves and 77% wouldn’t recognise the signs of melanoma.
“Construction workers should take care and protect themselves, especially if they have fair or freckled skin, red or fair hair, or a large number of moles. However, people with all skin colours need to take care, particularly if they work outside.”
Vicki Leslie, Client Relationship Manager at ECIS, comments: “These figures are extremely worrying, especially as so many people seem unaware or even unconcerned about the risks, and do not protect themselves effectively from the harmful effects of the sun. For those who work outside, staying in the shade during the hottest hours is not always possible, so covering up and slapping on the sun cream is essential.
“Construction workers should take care and protect themselves, especially if they have fair or freckled skin, red or fair hair, or a large number of moles. However, people with all skin colours need to take care, particularly if they work outside.
“The construction industry is very aware of the risk of accidental death and injury at work and has made great strides in reducing those risks. However, the danger of skin cancer is one workers outside face every day. The good news is that a few simple, inexpensive precautions can help contractors stay safe, even when the sun does eventually shine.”
- Cover up: Keep your shirt on to prevent the risk of sun burn.
- Wear a hat: Wear a hat with a brim or a flap that covers the back of your neck.
- Stay in the shade: During your breaks, head for the shade to give your skin some relief.
- Slap it on: Always wear a high factor sunscreen of at least SPF15 on any exposed skin with a high star rating.
- Reapply: Remember to reapply sun cream every few hours.
- Wear shades: Don’t forget to protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Get it checked: Check your skin for unusual moles or spots. See your GP immediately if a mole changes shape, size or colour or starts itching or bleeding.
Check the BAD website for further information.