Outdoor Workers

Sun exposure is the biggest cause of skin cancer. People who work outside are at higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Outdoor work often has the worker outside during the midday hours when the sun is at its strongest, adding to the risk of developing skin cancer.


Practical Ways to Lower Your Risk:

Cover Up                                        

  • Wear protective clothing to cover up your skin
  • Choose clothing that with longer sleeves, higher collars, longer shorts or pants to cover up as much skin as possible
  • Avoid clothing you can see through.  If light can shine through fabric, UV rays can reach your skin

Seek Shade

  • Consider whether an outside job can be moved to a shady location or even done inside
  • A temporary shelter can be erected or use buildings and trees for protection
  • Seek a shady spot for lunch and coffee breaks.  Shade reduces the UV that reaches your skin and provides cooler temperatures
  • Reorganize the job so tasks outdoors can be done in the early morning or later afternoon to avoid midday UV rays

Protect Your Head & Neck & Eyes                           

  • If you are able to wear a hat, choose a hat a 3” brim and grommets that let air circulate.  If you wear a hard hat or baseball cap, add a flap that can help protect your neck and ears
  • If your work requires a lot of movement and bending, the neck flap will help keep the sun off the back of your neck
  • Use sunglasses or safety glasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays.  Consider polarized lens that have a coating on the inside of the lens to protect from reflected rays

Apply Sunscreen SPF30+

  • Apply sweat proof sunscreen SPF30+ before heading outside.  Reapply every 2-3 hours—a spray may make reapplications easier.  If your ears or nose burn easily, consider using a sunscreen stick first on those areas and then add a layer of sunscreen over top.  Remember to use a lip balm with SPF15+ to protect your lips 
  • Protect any skin that might have been sunburnt recently from re-exposure to UV rays.  Cover with clothes if possible.  Apply a generous amount of sunscreen SPF30+ frequently to protect this damaged skin
  • Reapply sunscreen often when sweating and when UV Index is high!
  • Some medications and reflective surfaces like asphalt, sand, concrete, water and snow, increase the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.  Be aware if these factors exist at your work site and take extra precautions

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