Keeping Workers Safe in the Summer Sun

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The summer months are a great time for relaxation, vacations, and sunshine. However, this time of the year is also a reminder of how important sun protection is for all employees. Whether your profession keeps employees mostly indoors or outdoors, the sun can cause adverse health outcomes when a person is not protected from its heat and harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Examples include skin cancer, heat illness, and eye damage. Help keep workers safe from the sun by sharing these safety tips below and incorporating them into your workplace wellness program:


Wear Personal Protective Equipment1

  • Encourage workers to wear:
  • Clothing that covers as much skin as possible, but is also designed to stay cool on a hot day (e.g., lighter in color and more loose-fitting)
  • Hats that provide shade to the face, head, ears, and neck
  • Sunglasses that are close-fitting to the face

    Seek Shade

  • Seek natural shade, such as from trees, can help keep workers stay cool and out of the sun
  • Provide and/or encourage use of permanent or portable structures (i.e. tents, umbrellas, covered shelters)
  • Provide a designated shaded area for breaks, meals, and meetings
  • Consider tinting the windows of company vehicles

    Stay Hydrated2

  • Help keep workers cool and hydrated by providing plenty of water and electrolyte drinks
  • The CDC recommends that 1 cup of water should be consumed every 15-20 minutes if workers are in the heat for less than 2 hours and involved in moderate work activities
  • Encourage workers to avoid drinks with high levels of sugar or caffeine

    Apply Sunscreen

  • Urge workers to wear broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15, even when it is cloudy out, on all parts of exposed skin
  • Do not forget places such as the back, shoulders, neck, and legs
  • Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, and/or after sweating and swimming
  • Make sure sunscreen is not expired &nbsp

    These guidelines are more effective when used together! Think about ways you can integrate the material above into your workplace. For additional resources on ways to keep workers safe in the summer sun, check out NIOSH and the American Cancer Society.