Sun Safety Tips for Outdoor Workers

Summer is just around the corner and so is the need for workers to take extra precautions to protect themselves from the sun when working outdoors.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), outdoor workers such as farmers, maintenance workers, postal carriers, lifeguards, ranchers, police, and loggers face an increased chance of getting skin cancer. The Canadian Dermatology Association says there has been a 41 percent increase in the death rate from skin cancer among men since 1988–the highest increase of all cancers–and a 23 percent increase among women.

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You can reduce your risk by taking measures to prevent overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays. The CCOHS offers these tips to employers and workers:

Spend less time in the sun

  • Avoid unnecessary exposure, especially between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer;
  • Move work inside or to a shady location whenever possible, or use an umbrella;
  • Schedule outdoor work for early morning or late afternoon, and/or stagger work times to ensure that the same employees are not always working at the hottest time of the day.

Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher

  • Apply protective sunscreen 30 minutes before working in the sun and reapply throughout the day;
  • Avoid using sunscreen around the eyes;
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses that absorb UV rays;
  • Cover your limbs with clothing made of close-woven fabric in cool sunny weather and lightweight sun-blocking clothing in hot sunny weather;
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat.

For more information, visit the WCB of B.C. web site at or call the Prevention Information Line at (604) 276-3100, toll-free at (888) 621-SAFE (7233).

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