Summer is here, and that means more sunshine, longer days, and warmer weather. While many of us enjoy spending time outdoors, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of UV radiation and how it can affect our health. UV rays are invisible rays of energy that come from the sun and can damage our skin cells, leading to premature aging, sunburns, and skin cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million cases diagnosed each year. About 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85% of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun. The good news is that most skin cancers are preventable and treatable if detected early.

Whether you work indoors or outdoors, you can take steps to protect yourself and your employees from the harmful effects of UV rays and enjoy the summer season with peace of mind.

UV Safety Tips for Indoor Workers

If you work indoors, you might think that you’re safe from UV exposure, but that’s not always the case. UV rays can penetrate through windows and glass, and some indoor lighting sources, such as fluorescent and halogen lamps, can also emit UV radiation. Here are some ways to reduce your UV exposure if you work indoors:

  • Use sunscreen. Even if you’re not directly exposed to the sun, you should still apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 every day, especially on your face, neck, and hands. Reapply every two hours or more often if you sweat or wash your hands frequently.
  • Wear protective clothing. If you have windows in your office or workspace, you might want to wear long sleeves, pants, and a hat to cover your skin from the sun. You can also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts and other eye problems.
  • Avoid peak hours. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try to avoid going outside during these hours. If you need to go outside, seek shade or use an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun.
  • Check your skin regularly. It’s important to examine your skin every month for any changes or signs of skin cancer, such as new or changing moles, spots, or bumps. If you notice anything suspicious, see your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can save your life.

UV Safety Tips for Outdoor Workers

If you work outdoors, you’re at a higher risk of UV exposure and skin cancer, especially if you work in construction, landscaping, agriculture, or other fields that require you to be outside for long periods of time. Here are some ways to protect yourself and your employees if you work outdoors:

  • Use sunscreen. This is the most important and effective way to prevent sunburns and skin cancer. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it generously to all exposed areas of your skin, including your ears, lips, and scalp. Reapply every two hours or more often if you sweat or get wet.
  • Wear protective clothing. In addition to sunscreen, you should also wear clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible, such as long sleeves, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. You can also wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and a bandana or scarf to cover your neck.
  • Avoid peak hours. If possible, schedule your outdoor work in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun’s rays are less intense. If you have to work during peak hours, take frequent breaks and seek shade whenever you can.
  • Stay hydrated. Working in the sun can cause dehydration, which can affect your performance and health. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you further. You can also eat fruits and vegetables that have high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, and celery.
  • Check your skin regularly. As with indoor workers, you should also examine your skin every month for any signs of skin cancer and see your doctor if you find anything abnormal. You can also ask your employer to provide skin cancer screenings or education for you and your coworkers.

UV safety and skin cancer prevention are important aspects of your health and well-being, especially if you work indoors or outdoors. By following these tips and best practices, you can reduce your risk of UV exposure and skin cancer and enjoy the summer season with confidence.

For more resources on summer safety, access your Uprise Health EAP. We’re committed to helping you achieve a balanced and healthy work life. Don’t have the Uprise Health EAP? Request a demo here. We offer a range of wellness programs and services to help you cope with stress, improve your mood, and enhance your productivity. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your employees thrive in the workplace.

Additional Resources:

Skin Care Foundation Facts & Statistics

Skin Care Foundation Early Detection

American Cancer Society Sun & UV Exposure