Protecting yourself in the sun

Take 5 for Safety is a monthly article designed to give equipment and event rental stores the information they need to conduct a five-minute safety meeting on a particular topic. Below are talking points for this month’s meeting. The Take 5 for Safety signup sheet can be downloaded below. This can be used to take attendance during the meeting. 

Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts and skin cancer. The amount of damage from UV exposure depends on the strength of the light, the length of exposure and whether the skin is protected. There are no safe UV rays or safe suntans.

Skin Cancer
Sun exposure at any age can cause skin cancer. People should be especially careful in the sun if they burn easily, spend a lot of time outdoors, or have any of the following physical features:

  • Numerous, irregular or large moles.
  • Freckles.
  • Fair skin.
  • Blonde, red or light brown hair.

People are encouraged to examine their body monthly because skin cancers detected early can almost always be cured. The most important warning sign is a spot on the skin that is changing in size, shape or color during a period of 1 month to 1 or 2 years.

Skin cancers often take the following forms:

  • Pale, wax-like, pearly nodules.
  • Red, scaly, sharply outlined patches.
  • Sores that don’t heal.
  • Small, mole-like growths — melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

If you find such unusual skin changes, see a health care professional immediately.

Block out UV rays
The following are best practices to protect your skin from UV rays.

Cover up.
Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light. Try this test: Place your hand between a single layer of the clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, the garment offers little protection.

Use sunscreen.
A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. You want to block both UVA and UVB rays to guard against skin cancer. Be sure to follow application directions on the bottle.

Wear a hat.
A wide brim hat — not a baseball cap — is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp. Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.

Limit exposure.
UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are unsure about the sun’s intensity, take the shadow test: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are the day’s strongest.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

By Ashleigh Petersen
Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the digital communications manager for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

Other articles by Ashleigh Petersen
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