Roof systems manufacturer, Marley Eternit, is calling on all outdoor construction workers to use sun protection in order reduce damage caused by increased sun exposure.
In the UK, skin cancer rates are rising faster than in any other part of Europe and outdoor workers are at particular risk. In fact, outdoor workers have yearly sun exposure five to ten times higher than indoor workers.
In order to promote sun safety across the construction industry, Marley Eternit is re-launching its annual Safe in the Sun campaign, and this year its focus is on encouraging outdoor workers to use sun cream.
Katie Prestidge, who is leading the campaign at Marley Eternit, said: “Our Safe in the Sun campaign has been running for 15 years and it has been encouraging to see over this time the construction industry has taken some positive steps to reduce the risk of sun damage. Now, most main contractors, house builders and large roofing companies have sun safe procedures and many building companies also require subcontractors to wear appropriate tops on site at all times.
“However, it is clear that there is still an attitude of complacency in the UK when it comes to sun cream use. Our own research found that 86 per cent of construction workers make do with a lower than 30 SPF sun cream and many don’t use it at all.”
This is backed up by recent research which shows that almost a quarter of people do not apply sunscreen during the summer, with men twice as likely as women to forgo sun protection.
For this year’s campaign Marley Eternit is focusing on the safe use of sun protection and giving away free mini sun creams on a carabiner clip to make it easy for outdoor workers to use.
Gary Walpole, health and safety manager at the NFRC, said: “Sun safety is a big challenge in the industry and we need to change attitudes towards sun protection. Managers and supervisors have a key role to play in changing the culture. Many main construction businesses are already enforcing the use of sun safety procedures, but they can make it easier for workers to access water and sun cream by providing accessible stations, so workers don’t have to go all the way to the site offices.
“To reduce the amount of sun cream needed, they could also follow the Australian model of providing long sleeve, light weight PPE to keep roofers cool and protect them from the sun,” Gary adds.
To help ensure the safe use of sun cream on site, Marley Eternit has put together the following advice for outdoor workers:
- Don’t leave exposed skin unprotected. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 25 and remember to reapply regularly throughout the day
- Check your suncream hasn’t expired. If there isn’t an expiry date on the bottle, look out for a small symbol of an open pot. This tells you how long you can use the cream for once opened, e.g. 18 months
- Apply suncream liberally – as a rough guide use around a teaspoon for the face and neck, six teaspoons for the whole body
- Don’t rely on a once a day suncream – put it on in the morning and reapply at lunchtime
- To reduce the amount of suncream needed, consider using long sleeved, lightweight, UV-protective PPE.
Get a free bottle of sun cream, while stocks last, by sending your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.