Workers who regularly work outdoors, such as those in construction, are exposed consistently to the sun and so are at risk of hazards associated with exposure to the sun including heat stress, heat/ sun stroke, skin cancer, etc. Employers who have workers consistently working outside during the summer months, should recognize the sun as a potential hazard and in so doing, employer have the corresponding duty to protect their workers.
Where consistently exposed to the sun, it should go without saying that workers should wear sunscreen on the job. But according to a recent poll, such workers may not always wear sunscreen when needed. The survey, conducted online by Harris Poll, asked US adults age 18 and older who work outdoors at least half the time how often they wear sunscreen at work. The study found that only 18% of outdoor workers always wear sunscreen at work.
- 58% of outdoor workers see a need to wear sunscreen at work.
- 71% of outdoor workers say their employers don’t provide sunscreen
Essentially it comes down to taking every reasonable precaution to protect workers. When the sun is a hazard to workers, employers should ensure that their workers wear sunscreen at all times and make it easy for them to do so by providing it.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW:
- Sunlight exposure is highest during the summer and between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Workers are at risk of UV radiation even on cloudy days.
- Many drugs increase sensitivity to sunlight and the risk of getting sunburn. Some common ones include thiazides, diuretics, tetracycline, doxycycline, sulfa antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.
source: OHS Insider (May, 2016)