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6 tips for staying safe when working in the sun

As the UK is set to have a heatwave this week, seeing temperatures soar into the high 30’s°c, it is important to stay safe when working outdoors in the sun. 

Around 14,500 people are diagnosed with melanoma every year in the UK, according to Macmillan. And this figure is on the rise, with one of the main causes being exposure to UV radiation.The Melanoma Fund says skin cancer is now the most common and fastest growing cancer in the UK, adding men are more likely to develop melanoma on their backs and in areas that are hard to spot. Below are our tips on how to stay safe when working in the sun, for more information on melanoma visit the Melanoma Fund here. 

  1. Wear sun tan lotion 

Wearing a high factor sun tan lotion is important even if it’s an overcast day. Make sure to cover every part of your skin that is exposed, including your ears, nose and the back of your neck. Once you have applied it continue to regularly apply it throughout the day, set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Also, if you are working in a greenhouse the sun’s UV rays will still go through the glass. 

2. Keep hydrated 

Make sure you have a water bottle with you and regularly take a drink. Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Keep an eye out of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and confusion and feeling sick. The full list of symptoms and treatments can be found here. 

3. Stay covered up 

Wearing a hat can protect your head,back of the neck and ears from being burnt and it can also help to prevent you getting heatstroke. Whilst in the hot weather it is tempting to wear shorts and a t-shirt ( or even no t-shirt at all) long sleeve t-shirts and lightweight trousers are a much better alternative which will both protect your skin and means you don’t have to apply sun tan lotion as often. 

4. Protect your eyes 

The sun can be just as harmful to your eyes as it can be to the rest of your body. Whilst working with sunglasses on may not always be the most practical it is important to protect your eyes from the UV rays which could cause cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium. 

5. Stick to the shade 

The NHS recommends that you stay out of the sun between the hours of 11am – 3pm, yet this is not always possible in our industry. However, If you have to be outside during these times then try to stick to the shade, perhaps plan your day around what work you can do in the shade during the hottest times of the day. 

6. Take regular breaks 

Tiredness and fatigue can set in a lot quicker when you are working outdoors in the heat so it is important to take regular breaks to combat this. Plan your day to incorporate regular scheduled breaks, even just for 5 minutes at a time, where you can come out of the sun, have a drink of water and cool down. 

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