With summer in full swing, many of your employees may beworking outside, exposing them to sunlight, bug bites, and poisonous plantsthat can damage the skin and even leading to cancer or serious illness. To protectyour employees from these potential hazards, make sure you provide sunscreen, bugrepellent, and the proper skin protection equipment, such as long-sleevedclothing, protective eyewear, and other safety items.
Learn more about summer skin protection, so you can keepyour employees safe in the sun.
The sun emits two forms of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVBrays. The former mainly accelerates the aging process, contributing towrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. The latter can cause sunburn. UVB rays canalso pass through glass, so you need to protect your employees even if they’reworking indoors. Both types of rays are considered carcinogens, which meansthey cause cancer.
To protect your employees, you’ll need to keep plenty ofsunscreen on hand. Sunscreen protects the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using broad spectrum, waterproofsunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, which blocks 96% of the sun’s rays. Evenly applyan ounce of sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin every two hours. Andreplace your sunscreen once it’s past the expiration date.
Use both bottlesof sunscreen and sunscreenpouches to keep it readily available to your employees. You can easily handout pouches of sunscreen to your employees in the field if they need to reapplyin the middle of their shift. Use sunscreenlip balm to prevent sunburn on the lips.
You can also have your employees wear long-sleeve shirts,pants, brimmed hats, and other protective clothing to limit their exposure todirect sunlight. Buy cool clothing and use cooling towelsto keep your employees comfortable. And when possible, have them work in theshade.
Bug bites are another hazard you need to contend with ifyour employees are working outdoors. Insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas,and certain flies can spread serious illnesses and viruses, such as dengue,Zika, and Lyme. Some of these diseases cannot be cured by medicine, so it’svital that you reduce the chances of your employees getting bitten. Many ofthese insects tend to live in tall grass, open fields, and the woods.
Again, having your employees wear long-sleeve clothes andpants limits the amount of exposed skin. But some bugs can actually bitethrough thin fabric, so make sure the clothing is designed for bug protection.
You should also provide insectrepellent to your employees, including spray and wipes, to keep theseinsects away from your employees. According to the EPA, all insect repellentshould contain one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin,IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or2-undecanone.
Reapply according to the instructions. If you’re usingsunscreen as well, apply it before the insect repellent, otherwise, it may beineffective.
Poisonous Plant Protection
You also need to protect your employees from poisonousplants, such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Direct skin contactwith these plants can lead to a serious rash.
Poison ivy is known for its three-leaf structure with a redstem. It tends to grow low to the ground and may change colors throughout theyear. Some plants may even develop green or off-white berries in the fall.
Poison oak is known for having three small leaflets, usuallyranging from yellow to light green. The leaves are more lobed compared topoison ivy, although the two plants often get mistaken for one another. It canalso grow yellow or white berries.
Poison sumac has seven to 13 leaves paired in rows with oneleaf on the end and a red stem. Some plants have brown or black spots.
To protect your employees from all three of these plants,make sure they wear protective clothing that covers exposed areas of the skin,especially around the ankles, including long socks and pants.
If your employees work in areas with these poisonous plants,use CoretexIvy X Pre-Contact Skin Solution before coming into contact with theseplants to prevent a rash breakout. If contact does occur does occur, use CoretexIvyX Cleanser Towelettes to remove urushiol oils found in these poisonousplants.
Please also note that these same oils may be transferred on to clothing, tools and other objects. So removing clothing afterwards for a thorough washing is good practice, as is being mindful of which tools may be contaminated. These can be washed down to limit the spread of these extreme irritants.
Working outdoors in the summer comes with all kinds ofpotential hazards. Use these tips to protect your employees from the sun, bugbites, and poisonous plants. Contact theprofessionals at PK Safety for all your summer protection equipment needs.