No, the shade from your hard hat isn’t enough
I don’t want to sound like your mom and tell you to lather on the sunscreen before your workday for sun protection but…
Lather up on sunscreen before your workday!
With more and more research showing the importance of sun protection it’s a no-brainer to protect yourself from the sun.
UV radiation from the sun isn’t just dangerous, it’s also sneaky. Not only can it cause premature aging and skin cancer, it reaches you even when you’re trying to avoid it – penetrating clouds and glass, and bouncing off of snow, water and sand. What’s more, sun damage accumulates over the years, from prolonged outdoor exposure.
– Skin Cancer Foundation
If you’re not sold on the research, just check out this image of a 69-year-old man who drove a delivery truck for 28 years. It shows the damaged skin on the left side of his face (the side of his face closest to the window!)
OK, so now that we’re on the same page I’ll get to the point– what’s the best way to protect yourself from the sun?
We scoured the web for the top sun protection tips for construction workers. If you’re working in the heat or working outdoors, you’ll want to read this.
5 Sun Protection Tips for Construction Workers
- Play Hide and Seek with the Sun
No, Seriously. From 11AM to 3PM, try to stay in the shade. 11AM-3PM is when the UV rays are at their strongest, so this is when you want to avoid direct sunshine and stay in the shade.
But what if I have to be in the sun?!
- Cover Up
Your hi-viz isn’t enough. Try to wear clothes that will cover as much skin as possible. If you’re working in the heat, check out breathable fabrics. Most sportswear lines carry these (and you don’t need to break the bank–check out your local Goodwill. You might find one of these secondhand, seriously.)
- Wear wraparound sunglasses
Find a pair with UV protection and you’re good to go. Bonus points if they wrap around and cover more of your face. Believe it or not, these types of sunglasses are fashionable now, according to GQ.
- Wear Sunscreen
This one’s obvious. Use sunscreen with SPF minimum 30 UVA protection or higher, 20 minutes before going outside. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in the heat or not, you still need to wear sunscreen for sun protection. If you’re interested, you can read about the different types of sunscreen (maybe if you have sensitive skin you’ll want to check this out).
- Reapply sunscreen and while you’re at it, drink more water
How often should I reapply sunscreen, you ask? Rule of thumb is every 2 hours. More often than that if you’re sweating a lot. When you go to reapply, kill two birds with one stone and drink or fill up your water bottle. Staying hydrated while working in the heat is just as important as protecting yourself from the sun.
If you employ people take a look here for some advice from OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/