SC Johnson Professional’s recent survey of health and safety professionals showed that more awareness needs to be raised around UV protection at work. To look into this further, SC Johnson Professional are highlighting some of their key case studies of outdoor workers.
Oliver, site manager
‘Depending on staff levels, I can sometimes spend 6-7 hours a day outside. When I am outside, I don’t really think about sun cream too much, because I’m busy trying to get the job done. Cloudy days can be worse because you don’t realise you’re catching the sun.’
Danny, construction worker
‘I have worked in construction for the last 30 years. I know that constant burning and exposure will have an effect, if not now, in later years – and I know of family members that have been affected as well.
‘We have common PPE that we wear all the time, but it only adds to the heat and discomfort in summer. We should raise more awareness; sun cream should be made part of the PPE that we provide and ensure that operatives wear.’
‘I would say that about 60-70% of my time is spent working outdoors, but applying sun cream isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. I would maybe just wear sunglasses in summer.’
90% of all skin cancer deaths could be prevented if sun exposure is controlled. When thinking about PPE, UV protection should be given priority by health and safety policy makers and in particular, efforts to raise awareness and provide training to outdoor workers should be enhanced.
In SC Johnson Professional’s 2020 UV survey of 114 health and safety professionals in the UK, training emerged as a key finding. Of those health and safety professionals with a majority of employees working outdoors, 1 in 3 said that they did not have enough information to brief workers on the dangers of UV exposure and 41% stated that they wanted clearer regulatory requirements to help them with this. 43% of professionals wanted better data and information on the risks posed by UV radiation in the UK.
Taking these insights on board, SC Johnson Professional have developed a suite of easy-to-use training resources, specifically designed for employees who work outdoors and for health and safety professionals to implement as part of a skin care training programme – crucial now more and more outdoor employees are returning to the workplace.
Ideal for raising awareness around the risks and advising on best practice, the training includes a range of resources. Toolbox Talks help health and safety professionals to deliver quality, informative training, and videos illustrate real-life case studies and simple facts to bring home the reality of over-exposure. The training highlights the ‘5 S approach’ – slip, slop, slap, slide and shade – an approach which can significantly contribute to the prevention of excessive UV exposure.
The IOSH No Time to Lose campaign recommended that employees adapt the ‘5 S’ approach to sun safety as follows:
- SLIP on sun protective clothing – Encourage workers to keep covered up. Clothing can be one of the most effective barriers.
- SLOP on sun cream – Apply a broad spectrum, minimum SPF30 sun cream 20 minutes before initial exposure and re-apply every 2 hours or more frequently if sweating heavily.
- SLAP on a hat and neck protection – Where possible choose a hat with ear and neck protection.
- SLIDE on some sunglasses – Slide on a pair of high-quality wrap-around sunglasses to protect the eyes.
- SHADE from sun where possible – Encourage workers to take breaks or work in a shaded area wherever possible, especially from 11am-3pm.
To download the FREE SC Johnson Professional UV Training Kit, follow this link.