The UV Danger: How to Protect Workers Against Ultraviolet Radiation This Summer


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has definite health benefits: it stimulates necessary vitamin D production in the body. But only limited exposure is beneficial.

More excessive exposure is connected to skin cancer, sunburn, accelerated skin aging cataracts and other eye diseases.

The CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) notes that many types of workers are at risk from exposure to UV radiation, including outdoor workers, construction workers, contractors and surveyors, welders and laboratory workers.

Exposure to UV radiation isn’t just generated by the sun. There are other indirect sources. Keep these facts in mind: Reflections from snow, sand and concrete increase the UV intensity. A light cloud cover does not necessarily block UV in the sunlight. Water reflects only a small amount of UV. The rest can penetrate below the water’s surface.

The CCOHS offers the following suggestions to minimize UV exposure when working outside:

  • Avoid midday sun (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
  • Wear clothing that is tightly woven to block sunlight. Protective clothing can include long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat that will shade your face, neck and ears.
  • Apply waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all sun exposed skin.
  • Use UV protection sunglasses.

Remind your workers about the hazards of UV radiation and how they can minimize their risk.


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