Sun safety warning for yard staff

Published:  24 July, 2017

Roof systems manufacturer Marley Eternit is urging all merchants to implement sun safety measures for building and timber yard staff, following new research which shows construction workers have a greater risk of skin cancer than any other occupation.

The latest study, which appeared in the British Journal of Cancer, looked at the risks of skin cancer and outdoor occupations, estimating that there are 48 deaths and 241 cases of melanoma skin cancer each year caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun at work. Construction workers accounted for a staggering 44% of these deaths.

As part of its annual Safe in the Sun campaign, Marley Eternit is urging all outdoor construction workers to take action to reduce their skin cancer risk and is giving away free sun cream and UV wristbands, which change colour to show when sun protection is needed.

Katie Prestidge, who is leading the campaign at Marley Eternit, said: “These latest findings show that there is no room for complacency when it comes to sun safety - whether that is on a building site or in a merchant’s yard. It is thought that working in the sun could lead to one death and around five new cases of melanoma each week. Yet, 90% of all skin cancer deaths are preventable if outdoor workers take simple, sun safety precautions.

“A great deal of emphasis has been placed on the risks of working on construction sites but sun safety measures are just as important for employees working outside in building and timber yards.”

Marley Eternit has issued the following Safe in the Sun advice for yard staff:

  • Keep a shirt or jacket on and opt for tightly woven fabrics, which help to form a barrier to the sun’s harmful rays
  • Don’t leave exposed skin unprotected. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and remember to reapply regularly.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, during your breaks and especially at lunch time.
  • Wear a hat or hard hat at all times, preferably with a brim and flap that will cover the ears and the back of the neck
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
  • Check your skin regularly for unusual spots and moles, or changes to spots and moles
  • Wear a UV wristband, so that even when it is cloudy, you know when you need to use sunscreen and cover up

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