Summer. It’s the time when customers look to have the exterior of their houses repaired and painted. Fascia boards, windows, doors, render… whatever type of job, it could take a considerable time, leaving you and/or your employees exposed to the effects of the sun.

Anyone whose job keeps them outside for any length of time risks their skin being exposed to the sun’s harmful UV radiation, which could lead to skin damage including sunburn, blistering, skin ageing, and skin cancer, as well as overheating and dehydration.

You may think that because you have a tan, or can tan easily, that you are protected.  However, a tan isn’t as healthy as you may think – it’s actually a sign that the skin has already been damaged by the sun.

The HSE recommends that those working in the sun take precautions such as:

  • Keeping your top on! Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers made of close-woven fabric to minimise the risk of sun exposure to skin.
  • Wear a high factor sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB and ensure that it’s applied regularly throughout the day.
  • Wear a hat with a brim or flaps to protect your head, back of the neck and ears.
  • Try to work in the shade if at all possible – and stay out of the sun during the period before during and after midday when it is at its strongest.
  • Take your breaks in the shade.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

The HSE has some useful guidance on its website, and has also produced a helpful leaflet for employers called “Sun protection: Advice for employers of outdoor workers”, which can be downloaded by clicking here.  Further information on skin cancer prevention can be found on the Cancer Research UK website.