Sun Smart: Keeping Your Cool and it’s all about Mellow Yellow

Eleanor Black’s articleI regret not using sunscreen really resonated with me.  I can remember not being sun smart and getting horrifically burned during the 80’s and 90’s. The two worst incidents were:

Event 1. Sitting with my feet hanging off the surf tower with Teva’s on. My feet blistered so badly I couldn’t wear shoes for days and I had Teva tan lines for months afterwards (massive own goal, I did know better).

Event 2. Slogging up a glacier to go climbing on a hot day with my mouth open. Somehow, I burned the top of my mouth so badly that I had to let my dinner get cold before I could eat it, and wear a bandanna bandit style for the next two days.

With over 70,000 people being diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and 300 people dying from it, why wouldn’t you focus on being Sun Smart in the workplace? Last week WorksafeNZ published: Protecting workers from solar UV radiation: and it’s definitely worth reading.

What’s the problem?

  • Burns to skin and eyes
  • Cancer and other skin conditions
  • Heat Related Conditions/ Hyperthermia etc (See St John NZ website)

What can you do?

  1. Talk to workers, what do they think? What do they need?
  2. Look at your geographic area and check the weather patterns.
  3. Think about the tasks people are doing (time of day, chemicals involved, reflective surfaces etc.).
  4. Check what meds your workers are taking. Some medications can make people photosensitive (sensitive to the sun)
  5. Review your personal protective equipment supplied

How to be Sun Smart and minimise exposure and effects?

  • Scheduling work to avoid high UV exposure
  • Shade/ Engineered Glass
  • Clothing and Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water and rehydration aids such as Sqwincher
  • Scheduled breaks
  • Training, auditing and reviews
  • Self-testing: workers check their moles and freckles to look for changes
  • Organise a mole check by company doctor 

Pure Genius Award: Put Up “Mellow Yellow” Posters in Your Toilets

I saw this inspired piece of information at a client’s site a couple of weeks ago. Follow the link to get your own Urine Color Chart Dehydration chart to put up in your workplace toilets.

If you have anything to add to the list on how to keep your workers sun smart and safe in the outdoors please let me know.

Have fabulous festive season and I’ll be back to blogging on the week of the 8th January 2018.


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