HR and health & safety specialists, Law At Work (LAW), are warning the construction industry that outdoor workers face serious skin cancer risks from exposure to the sun.
With a 48% increase in recorded skin cancer cases in the last decade, employers are being encouraged to safeguard their staff that spend all or part of their time outdoors.
Health and safety specialists at LAW are urging employers to think beyond just sunscreen and consider all aspects of their legal requirements in remaining compliant to ensure the safety of their staff.
Steve Ashton, head of health & safety at Law At Work, said, “Employers need to assess and manage the risks to their staff working outdoors. All signs are pointing to high temperatures and long hours of intense sunshine during these summer months, and employers need to be ready to provide their staff with advice on how to stay protected and inform them of the dangers.”
Cancer Research reported there were approximately 13,300 cases of skin cancer in 2011 alone and that a disproportionately high number of these cases were in people under 55. Malignant Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is the second most common cancer in this age group.
Steve added, “Business owners and health and safety specialists alike might be surprised to discover that new cases of Melanoma are superseding the worst case estimate of the number of incidents of Mesothelioma from Asbestos.
“Employers seem to be taking the risk of Asbestos-related work very seriously, but not considering the long and short term dangers of prolonged sun exposure. The same level of consideration needs to be taken for staff working in the sun.
“I think employers should factor in the amount of time workers spend in the sun when completing risk assessments and to seriously consider, as a minimum, the provision of sun cream free of charge to their employees working outdoors.”