Request a callback

Want to talk about your next construction project, got a question about lead or just need to talk to one of our office staff… Fill in this form, and we’ll ring you back today.

  • We will use the information provided here to only respond to your enquiry. For further information on how we use your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Toolbox Talk: Staying safe in the sun

Toolbox Talk: Staying safe in the sun

The warm weather has arrived and while that may be great news for lots of us, for those in the construction industry working out in the sun for seven hours or more a day can make for tiring and strenuous work. And while the UK isn’t known for having the hottest of summers, compared to our European neighbours skin cancer rates are growing faster here than the rest of Europe so care needs to be taken.

Every day in Britain five open-air workers get skin cancer and sixty die from skin cancer-related deaths per year. But just by taking precautions 90% of all skin cancer deaths can be prevented. Here at Midland Lead, our Toolbox Talks are designed to support and inform our customers on a wide range of topics- and not just on lead. For this newsletter, we’ve put together some useful guidelines to how to keep safe from the sun this summer:

Just because it’s cloudy it doesn’t mean you’re covered…

Even if you can’t see the sun, its powerful UV rays can still reach you. It is the radiation of these UV rays which damage your skin and up to 80% of these can get through cloudy skies. By checking the UV index on the weather forecast or by downloading one of the many free apps you can keep up to date on the days where you need to be the most protected.

The less on show the better…

Wearing a hard hat at all times should be part of the job but that still leaves your neck and ears exposed, hard hats with flaps which cover the back of the neck are a better option. Try following the Australian example where outdoor workers are encouraged to wear long sleeved and lightweight, UV-protective personal protection equipment (PPE). This material wicks away sweat and dries quickly making it perfect for working in sweltering conditions.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…  suncream?

Any skin left uncovered should be protected with a suncream that has an SPF of 25 or more and not the stuff from an old bottle you’ve had lying around your toolbox for the last couple of years. Make sure the bottle is in date, most bottles have a shelf life date on the bottle or a small symbol of an open pot with the number of months it can be used for once opened. There aren’t many suncream brands which will last more than a couple of years, even if they’re stored correctly.

Worryingly most people only use half the amount of suncream they actually need, so remember to apply it liberally. You’ll need at least a teaspoon’s worth for the face and neck alone! Over the course of the day sweating and face wiping lead to losing most of your vital SPF protection, reapplying suncream a couple of times a day can help prevent this. Perhaps try putting it on in the morning then again during your lunch break to ensure you’re protected.

Look after yourself, inside and out

Keeping safe in the sun isn’t just about protecting yourself from damaging UV rays, the heat alone can be exhausting for your body. Make sure you’re keeping hydrated by drinking a cup of water every quarter of an hour, if possible try to have individual containers of clean water on site. It’s good practise to keep a reusable bottle on hand, which you can refill from the containers, and sip at throughout the day.

On hotter days, try and avoid working directly in the midday sun, between 12pm and 3pm is when the sun tends to be at its strongest. If that’s not possible at least be sure to have your breaks in shaded areas.

It’s easy to be complacent when it comes to taking precautions against UV rays, but just by following these simple guidelines you can save yourself from some serious skin damage in the future. As we head into the hotter months, bear these tips in mind when you’re on site and you’ll be sure to have a cooler summer.