Tips for avoiding UV-related skin damage for road, construction workers

Updated Mar 19, 2019

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Although parts of the country are still recovering from blizzards, Spring “officially” began on March 20, 2019, and Summer is only a few months away. That means lots of sunshine is on its way, and those who work outdoors will soon have to think about protecting themselves from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The American Academy of Dermatology is reminding all outdoor workers to be aware of the risk associated with overexposure to the sun’s UV rays, which can cause skin cancers, Safety + Health reports. The academy notes that, on average, one person in the United States dies every hour from melanoma, the worst type of skin cancer. Outdoor workers who spend more time in the sun receive more UV radiation exposure. Sweating not only causes sunscreen to come off, it increases a person’s skin photosensitivity, which can contribute to UV-related skin damage. Those who work around sand, concrete, and other light-colored surfaces are doubly exposed because the UV rays are reflected by the material.

Outdoor workers can help reduce their risk of skin cancers by following these tips:

  • Know that even on cloudy days, you’re susceptible to UV rays, as up to 80 percent can pass through clouds.
  • Avoid the sun’s rays when they are strongest (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.).
  • Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Regularly and generously apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Check your skin often for suspicious freckles or moles. If you find a mole or spot that has recently changed in appearance or is itching, bleeding or getting larger, see a dermatologist.