On a construction site, you spend a lot of time focusing on safety as you traverse high spaces and use different tools and machinery. Sometimes it can be easy to forget about protecting yourself from the sun. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Workers on construction sites are often exposed to harmful rays from the sun. It is important that you do whatever you can to protect yourself. Here are some steps you can take:
On skin that is going to be exposed to the sun. Experts recommend waterproof sunscreen that has SPF 30 or greater and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You should apply at least 1 oz of sunscreen to your entire body before getting dressed. This helps to ensure that you are not missing any spots that may be exposed to sunlight. Also, don’t forget about the easy to miss places like the tops of ears and the back of your neck. Sunscreen wears off, so make sure that it is re-applied to sun exposed areas every two hours and after sweating a lot.
With as much cloth as you can. Experts recommend wearing tight-knit clothing over your skin. If you can see through your clothing, then it is not enough coverage from the sun. Also, be sure to use UVB protection sunglasses to protect your eyes.
If you do get burned, treat burns with cold compresses or cool water and use a gentle moisturizing lotion on the area for a few days to help the burn heal. DO NOT use oil-based ointments or petroleum jelly on a sunburn. Severe burns that blister and cover a large portion of the body may require medical attention.
Keep Track of Changes in Your Skin
Even if you take steps to protect yourself from the sun, you should keep track of any changes you see in your skin. Skin cancer is easily treated if it is detected early. Talk to your doctor about any strange looking moles. Check your skin regularly and become familiar with the marks on your body. This way, if anything changes, you’ll be able to point it out to your doctor. Some people may need to have regular skin cancer screenings. There are a few things that make you a likely candidate for these screenings:
- light-colored hair (red, blonde) or light-colored eyes.
- skin with a lot of freckles
- family history of skin cancer
- 5 or more sunburns in the past
- Use of tanning beds or a lot of time spent in the sun
- You have a lot of moles or irregular moles.
Irregular moles are one of the most common signs of skin cancer. Be sure to look out for the A, B, C, D, E’s of moles to tell if your moles are irregular:
Asymmetry – one side of the mole doesn’t match the other.
Border Irregularity – the mole has blurry or ragged edges.
Color – Different shades of tan, brown, or black are present.
Diameter – The mole is larger than ¼ inch in diameter.
Evolving – The mole changes over time.
Discuss any concerns you might have about your health with your doctor.
When it comes to buying your safety gear, you need products as tough as your workers. At SSU, we provide safety equipment to protect you in every construction task. We also offer on-site assessments, safety consulting and expert training in different locations both in New York and New Jersey. Shop for safety products online or visit our store.