in the UK everyone looks forward to the good weather and some sunshine however with sunny weather comes the risk of sunburn and potentially skin cancer skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in the UK with figures from cancer research estimating that there are as many as a hundred thousand new cases each year around 50% of work-related cases of the most common type of skin cancer are in the construction industry the scale of the problem within construction has prompted the making of this film that will give you the facts about skin cancer caused by the Sun and suggest some ways of minimizing your risk I'm working outside in the summer months if detected early there was a 95 percent success rate in treating this type of cancer a far better rate than for most other types of cancer however if left to develop some types of skin cancer can spread via lymph nodes and into the immune system to other organs within the body causing secondary cancers in the most severe cases skin cancer can be fatal but whilst rarely fatal treatment often involves surgery to cut out the cancer the process can be traumatic from finding the tumor awaiting diagnosis from your GP or specialist the removal process the wait for test results to find out whether the tumor was cancerous and then for larger removals reconstructive surgery many who have had skin cancer get further tumors cancer research advises that the risk can be increased by as much as 9 times the skin is very complex with several different layers each with its own role one achiever forms often it can be like an iceberg with only a small area visible on the surface but was substantially more area affected by cancerous cells below it's this iceberg that causes most surprise to the patient after surgery when they realize how much has had to be cut out to ensure all of the cancer has been removed and only healthy cells remain the most common areas for skin cancer are on the back neck and sometimes the back of the legs you may have found that it is hard to apply some cream to these areas some people are more likely than others to develop skin cancer if you have lots of moles or freckles like colored eyes or have red or fair hair and you will be more at risk because people with any of these characteristics typically burn easily irrespective of your skin type staying in the Sun until your skin goes pink or red is a physical sign that you have already caused damage to your skin repeatedly letting this happen can lead to you developing skin cancer people sometimes assume that bright sunshine is the cause of skin cancer however what actually causes it is ultraviolet or UV radiation that comes from the Sun Consul research advisors at the main periods of risk in the UK of the months April to mid-september with the highest levels of UV rays being present between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. UV rays penetrate skin cells causing sunburn skin aging and DNA damage it's this damage that can cause you to develop skin cancer UV rays are invisible and cannot be felt on the skin the heat of the Sun that you feel comes from infrared rays a common misconception is that the risk only exists when there is bright sunshine this is wrong UV rays are still present on a cloudy or overcast day 30 to 40 % of UV rays will still penetrate through dense cloud cover and up to 80% if only half the sky is covered in cloud UV rays are also present from reflections not just from metal roofs coverings or glass but five to ten percent of the surface of water 15% off sand and 10% off concrete surfaces so you may be exposed even if you think you are in the shade there are 10 Sun safety measures in the same way that you or perhaps the site manager check the weather forecasts for the next day or even further it is possible to check the UV level forecast the UV level is often given in newspapers websites and on television or radio forecasts the UV level will usually be listed as a number which will then be grouped as low medium or high this information will enable you and the site managers to prepare for the level of protection needed the next Sun safety measures can only be achieved with the cooperation of your employer or the principal contractor for the site on which you are working where possible between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. work should be undertaken away from direct sunlight either inside or in a shaded area any canopy or cover provided for shade should be made from a fabric or material that is fire-rated and has been tested for UV protection with a UPF rating of 30 plus obviously this is only suitable in areas where the worker is positioned in one area for a period of time and where plants such as forklifts and excavators are not needed for the task where it is not possible for everybody to work away from direct sunlight or provide shade thought should be given to the rotation of workers so that as little time as possible is spent working in direct sunlight when it's hot sand you're doing lots of manual work probably the last thing you would think to wear would be lots of clothes however in Australia parts of the USA and other countries where the weather is far hotter and sunnier than the UK it's very common for workers to wear long sleeve tops and long trousers when working outside the clothing is designed for working outdoors and whilst harder to find it is available in the UK such clothing is designed to be both comfortable when working outdoors and to offer protection by being quick drying soaks up sweat so you don't feel wet high wicking move sweats moisture away from your skin quickly UV protecting the material will have been tested and therefore has a UV protection rating or UPF look for a UPF of at least 30 plus remember wear clothing or PPE is provided to you by your employer you must by law make sure that you wear it you probably haven't seen many wide-brimmed hats with neck protection on a construction site as normally hard hats must be worn at all times hard hats don't usually have cover for the neck however some manufacturers produce neck protection that can be attached to your hard hat wear neck protection is not provided or available you need to think about how you can cover and protect your neck another area of the body which can be affected by UV radiation as the eyes with damage leading to cataracts or even cancer in the eye when selecting sunglasses you need to remember choose wraparound types to prevent the Sun creeping in at the sides ensure the sunglasses have a marked UV rating of 400 and with a label stating a hundred percent UV protection many sites now have Sun lotion dispensers or provide single-use such as for you to use and there are many Sun lotions on the markets which are quick drying and non greasy so dust and dirt won't stick to your skin when you use Sun lotion the following points are important ensure the sunscreen you use has UVA and UVB protection and the solar protection factor SPF rating of 30 as well as a 4 star rating don't scrimp you need to put at least a teaspoonful on each arm leg front and back of the body and at least half a teaspoonful to the face every time you put on Sun lotion make sure you leave enough time for the cream to soak in before going out in the Sun make sure you reapply cream regular during the day remembering to wash your skin beforehand remember you need to put the lotion on all areas which are not covered and could be exposed to the Sun don't forget your neck head ears and back drinking plenty of water is important for healthy skin which will help to minimize the impact from the Sun on your skin checking your skin is the final Sun safety measure the earlier the detection and diagnosis the more effectively skin cancer can be treated the best way to detect skin cancer is to spend a couple of minutes checking your skin at least once a month check your head face neck and chest right down to your hips look in a mirror or get someone else to check the areas you can't easily see such as the back of your head ears and back next check your arms elbows including your underarms and both sides of your hands when checking your body you're looking for any marks on the skin that appear to be growing bleeding or changing appearance in any way a spot or sore that does not heal within four weeks a spot mole or sore that itches hurts scalps crusts or bleeds for more than four weeks areas of skin that becomes sore or it also forms for no apparent reason and again it doesn't heal up within four weeks checking moles is particularly important as the most serious form of skin cancer often starts from moles on your skin there is an ABCD easy guide to checking moles asymmetry the two halves of the mole may differ in their shape and not match border the outside edges of the mole little area may appear to be blurred and sometimes shown notches or look rugged color this may be uneven and patchy you may see different shades of black brown and pink diameter typically this type of skin cancer is at least six millimeters in diameter larger than the rubber on top of a pencil if any mole gets bigger or changes tell your doctor it is very important that you visit your GP immediately if you think you found any of these points when checking your skin you will never be criticized for getting it checked out skin cancer is on the increase but by following the guidance in this film you can help to protect yourself in this entirely preventable form of skin cancer you

Sun safety in construction

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