This is an H3
- Our workplace has never done anything about sun safety. Why start now?
- Is UV radiation a liability issue?
- We can’t afford to implement a sun safety policy with our tight budget.
- If this organization’s employees develop skin cancer later in life, it will mostly be the result of harmful behavior they engage in outside of work. The organization cannot change that.
- Most of the employees in our workplace have dark skin. Is sun safety policy necessary?
Common Misconceptions about Sun Safety:
- Isn’t “some sun” good for people?
- Doesn’t a tan offer protection from sunburn?
- I’ve heard that sunscreen is actually harmful and it can cause skin cancer.
- Some employees only spend a little time outside during lunch and break times. That is not enough time to suffer damage from UV rays.
Our workplace has never done anything about sun safety. Why start now?
Skin cancer rates are rising in the U.S., while rates for other cancers are generally decreasing. With the recognition of sun safety as an important health concern and a nation-wide focus on increasing the health and safety of workplaces and employees, now is an opportune time to create a sun safety policy.
Is UV radiation a liability issue?
Yes. Workplaces have taken steps to minimize harmful substances such as asbestos, radon and lead. Ultraviolet radiation is also harmful and is recognized by Congress, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies as a known human carcinogen.1 Some staff can be considered outdoor workers. UV can be considered an occupational exposure for some. Why not educate your staff about their responsibilities related to sun exposure and sun protection. Be proactive. Educating staff about sun safety and creating policy to help reduce exposure to UV radiation can help reduce possible liabilities in the future.
1Report on Carcinogens. Eleventh Edition; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
We can’t afford to implement a sun safety policy with our tight budget.
Policy change doesn’t have to be expensive and it can start small. Your workplace might start implementing a sun safety policy by simply posting advisories in offices and break rooms about effective sun safety behaviors. Over time staff trainings can be implemented and landscaping or portable shade can be utilized on and off the worksite. A sun safety policy can fit into your budget and your time. Start small and add new measures each year. To learn more about simple sun safe changes workplaces can make, visit the Make it Policy page.
If this organization's employees develop skin cancer later in life, it will mostly be the result of harmful behavior they engage in outside of work. Why should the organization teach sun safety?
Teaching sun safety in the workplace gives employees skills to promote healthful living. Because there is a large amount of misleading information about sun safety that is communicated socially and within the media, employees may not learn correct or healthy sun safe habits.
Most employees in our workplace have dark skin. Is sun safety policy necessary?
Yes. While the risk is greater for fair-skinned employees, exposure to UV rays is a health risk for everyone. Acknowledge diversity and address sun safety measures that can help all employees reduce overexposure to UV rays.
Common misconceptions about sun safety:
Isn’t “some sun” good for people?
Yes. UV rays trigger the manufacture of vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D helps the body maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood. Vitamin D is also important for strong bones. It’s possible for a light-skinned person to get adequate vitamin D by spending 10-15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen twice each week with his ot her face, arms, hands, or back exposed to the sun. After initial exposure, sun protection, such as cover-up clothes and sunscreen, is important to prevent over-exposure and sunburn. Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as fish and fish oil, fortified milk and margarine, egg yolks, liver, Swiss cheese, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin-mineral supplements are another source of vitamin D. Recommendations on dietary supplementation and sun protection may change as evidence emerges regarding the relationship of sun exposure and vitamin D production. To read more about vitamin D, see the Vitamin D Fact Sheet developed by the National Institute of Health.
Doesn’t a tan offer protection from sunburn?
A tan provides a small amount of sun protection, but skin damage is occuring during tanning. The physical sign of a tan is the skin’s way of trying to protect itself from further skin damage. Tanning is harmful, and puts a person at risk for certain skin cancers by accelerating skin damage. Instead of relying on a tan, it is important to protect the skin by wearing protective clothing, a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
I’ve heard that sunscreen is actually harmful and it can cause skin cancer.
There is no evidence that demonstrates that using sunscreen puts anyone at greater risk of developing skin cancer. It is important to remember, however, that no sunscreen is a perfect barrier against UV rays. All sunscreens let some UV rays through to the skin. Applying sunscreen only lengthens the amount of time you can spend in the sun without burning. In addition, no sunscreen lasts all day. Sunscreen should not be used to prolong your time in the sun.
Some employees only spend a little time outside during lunch and break times. That is not enough time to suffer damage from UV rays.
For most people, spending a small amount of time in the sun each day won’t result in much visible skin damage such as sunburn. However, one of the largest risk factors for developing skin cancer is lifetime exposure to UV rays. Most people get 25% of their lifetime sun exposure before they are 18. By teaching employees how to take precautions at work when they are exposed to the sun, not only will they be more protected when they are at work, but they will also be more likely to practice positive sun safe behaviors at home.