Do I Need to Provide Sun Cream for Outdoor Workers?

Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK. The disease kills over 2,500 people each year in the UK alone and, worryingly, its incidents rates continue to rise. With Cancer Research UK reporting that an enormous 86% of cases are preventable, it’s vital employers are doing their bit to keep high risk workers safe.

UV exposure is the main preventable cause of skin cancer: many outdoor workers in industries such as construction and agriculture face an increased risk. Does that mean you should provide sun cream for your outdoor team? Let’s look at the facts.

Your Legal Requirements

The Health and Safety at Work Act makes clear there is a legal duty on every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health of their employees. This includes conducting a suitable risk assessment of the hazards to health in the workplace, including the risks from UV radiation.

Sun cream – depending on the SPF (sun protection factor) – helps protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. When applied correctly, it can be a useful protection strategy against sun damage, however you shouldn’t rely on sun cream alone. Instead, sun cream should be used as part of a wider sun protection strategy for your team.

Your Sun Protection Strategy

Without other protection methods in place, sun cream alone does not provide sufficient protection for outdoor workers. A comprehensive sun protection plan includes measures to reduce exposure time and to protect workers when sun exposure is unavoidable. Your plan should include:

  • Amending schedules to minimise work when the sun is at its strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October.
  • Ensuring adequate break times in a shaded area.
  • Providing shading over work areas where possible.
  • Providing appropriate PPE including hats, UV blocking sunglasses and long-sleeved clothing.
  • Providing plenty of water stations.
  • Providing high factor sun cream (SPF 30 minimum).

Sun Protection Education and Training

As well as making sure all necessary plans and equipment are in place, teams will need to be well educated about sun protection and how to use protective methods effectively. For example, do teams know that sun cream should be applied 30 minutes before exposure and reapplied every two hours? Have they been informed of the risks and signs of heat stress and dehydration?

What if My Team is Employed Through an Agency?

In industries such as construction and agriculture, it is often the case that outdoor workers may be employed through an agency. However, even if you do not employ a worker directly, whilst working on your site, both you and the agency have a legal duty to ensure the safety of that worker.

Are you stocked up on sun cream  for your outdoor workers? How about adding a suncream unit to your personalised Safety Station?

SHOP: SUN CREAM

Enfield Safety – no one works harder to bring you health, safety and welfare products at the right price, on time, every time.

Recent posts

  • How to Create an Emergency Fire Safety Plan

    Most workplace fires are preventable. It’s crucial those responsible for workplaces adopt appropriate prevention and protection measures to minimise fire risk. If a fire does break out, it may well pose a threat to life and cause significant damage to premises and severe interruption to projects. Read More

    By Roger Munn August 07 2018

  • Construction Site Set Up Made Easy – How to Save Time and Money

    Construction site set up can be a mammoth task: a multifaceted job that needs to run smoothly to keep timelines and budgets on track. Luckily, you don’t have to do all the hard work yourself. With our construction site starter solutions, we’ll take care of the legwork for you, so you can get on with running your project without distractions. Read More

    By Hans Stacey July 30 2018

  • Spill Response: Is Your Site Prepared?

    Getting on top of spillage control requires your site to be proactive rather than reactive. Proper planning to minimise spill risk, as well as sourcing the right equipment to limit the impact of any spill, will safeguard your team and the surrounding environment. Read More

    By Samuel Rapley July 17 2018

We use cookies to provide a better experience. Continue browsing if you're happy with this, or review our full privacy policy for more information. Accept