Reducing Risks of Working In the Sunshine
Prince George, B.C.- It is the time of year when there is lots of outdoor work being done and while this summer in Prince George has been a wet one so far, outdoor workers and their employers need to take precautions when the sun is shining. WorkSafe BC says that between 2011 and 2015, it accepted six claims for malignant skin cancer caused by work related sun exposure.
“Every Canadian can benefit from reducing sun exposure, including Canadian workers,” says Al Johnson, Vice President, Prevention Services at WorkSafeBC. “Here in B.C. preventing skin cancer and other occupational diseases is a high priority. Employers and workers can protect against the sun by planning ahead and taking precautions on days with high ultraviolet levels.”
Under B.C.’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, employers of outdoor workers are required to conduct a sun exposure assessment to determine the level of risk to workers and have a sun exposure plan in place to effectively manage the risk, if one is identified.
Employers can take the following workplace precautions to reduce sun exposure to workers, particularly at this time of year when potential exposure is highest:
- Provide tents and shade structures on machinery and equipment
- Schedule the hardest physical tasks outside the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when ultraviolet (UV) levels are highest
- Ensure work and rest cycles are scheduled regularly to allow workers to cool off in a shaded area
- Wearing sunscreen and reapplying liberally throughout the day
- Wearing sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, loose-fitted clothing made of cotton or silk
- Using a brim attachment and neck flap for hard hats, for added sun protection
- Drinking water frequently throughout the day
- Taking the Sun Safety at Work questionnaire