Sun Safety for Outdoor Workers

BLD046474No one enjoys sunburn, and the fact that skin cancer rates are rising certainly doesn’t help. While outdoor workers and their employers account for many risks, one that is often overlooked is sun damage. This is despite the fact that the sun plays such a dominant role in an outdoor worker’s life. Those who work outdoors would be wise to know the risks, and invest in protective materials and habits (if their jobs do not already provide them), especially as the months warm up.

Risks of sun exposure:

The links between sunburn and skin cancer have been well documented by dermatologists in Washington DC, London UK and around the world. People with fairer skin and previous sunburns are most at risk for skin cancers such as Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell carcinoma, and the most dangerous form, Melanoma. However, nobody is immune to these risks and those with darker skin may be less likely to get cancer, but their cases are more likely to prove fatal. Other risks include dehydration and even heat stroke, which can also have catastrophic results.Therefore it is important to protect oneself, especially in professions that frequently take one outdoors.

High-Risk Jobs:

Some of the jobs with high risks for sun exposure include:

  • Park ranger
  • Outdoor sports (surf/ski/snowboard) instructor
  • Lifeguard
  • Farmer
  • Marine biologist
  • Geologist
  • Landscaper

Modes of Protection:

If you find yourself working in one of these fields, consult with a dermatologist in Washington DC or your own area about how to stay safe in the sun. Here are some tips that may help you protect yourself.

  • Keep your skin covered- You don’t have to wear short clothing to stay cool. Long sleeves and pant legs can help keep your skin from burning while lighter materials like cotton and linens, and dry-wicking exercise fabrics can keep you well ventilated. Hats are also a great way to cover the thinner, more sensitive skin around your face.
  • Wear glasses with UV protection- The sun can damage more than your skin. It is important to care for your eyes and use glasses with UV protection on the label. Those drugstore glasses you bought may help you see better, but may not be giving you any real help in the long run. Invest in a quality pair.
  • Stay hydrated- We shouldn’t have to tell you the importance of drinking water, but we will just in case.
  • Wear sun block- SPF 30 or higher is ideal. Make sure you cover all exposed skin including your back, which is particularly susceptible as it often goes neglected. Water/ sweat resistant sunblock is also best, and should be reapplied every 40 minutes, after which it loses its effect.

Every job has its risks, but an outdoor job can also prove very rewarding. Just remember to keep yourself safe, and consult with a DC dermatologist for more more advice on staying healthy.


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