Of course April showers bring May flowers; and of course after that we have sun and high temperatures to look forward to!
Yes, this is great and after all that snow (and the dreaded slip and fall season) we are all ready for the seasons to change.
Sun exposure in safe amounts has many positive effects on us. In as little as 15 minutes of sun exposure we get all the vitamin D we need, our mood is enhanced, stress is decreased, our sleep patterns improve, and signs of seasonal depression start to lift.
As the temps rise and the sun shines longer employers need to be ready to keep their employees safe from the harmful effects of the sun and the warmer days. Many of our members have employees who spend a considerable amount of time outside and may have employees who are in areas of buildings that are not air-conditioned.
Here are some tips to prevent injuries that may arise out of the exposure to sun, heat as the weather warms, and the days get longer.
- Consider installing a sunscreen dispenser near exits. These units are becoming more present in parks and businesses. They are great because they encourage the use of sunscreen and make it convenient as its right by the door. These are not overly expensive to purchase or maintain. It’s well known that one bad sunburn can put you at risk for skin cancer and it takes less than a minute to apply sunscreen. It will be time well spent and compliance with use comes with the sunscreen being so accessible. When possible sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes prior to exposure.
- Consider having hydration stations accessible during the hot weather. This can be as easy as a cooler with ice and water bottles or a water bubbler and cups located for easy access to employees during the work day. When you have the feeling of “being thirsty” you are already on your way to dehydration and the risk for this increases as the temperatures rise. Adults should drink at least 64 ounces of water a day and this amount should be increased when you are out in the sun and heat.
- Consider longer outdoor projects being done early in the morning or late in the day on full sun warm days. During the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm the sun is at its strongest and employees working outside are at risk for overheating which leads to both heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The Centers for Disease Control say, in as little as 15 minutes the body can overheat and be on the way to heat stroke, with the internal body temperature rising to as much as 106 degrees when working in excessive heat.
With a little planning and common sense work related injuries from the sun and heat can be avoided. For more information on being prepared for the sun (it’s like being prepared for snow but so much more fun);
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Marta Silakka RN, BSN, CCM
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