How To Observe UV Safety Month In The Workplace?
Can you imagine living in a world without sunlight? Just the thought makes you feel gloomy and dark, doesn’t it? The sun is, infact, known as the “life-giver.” Without it, life on earth would simply not simply exist.
Sunlight also offers a wide range of health benefits - it kickstarts Vitamin D production in the body, boosts serotonin levels, boosts the immune system, and so on. Yet, exposure to too much sunlight has its dangers for us humans.
Like the classic saying, “Too much of anything is bad,” too much sun exposure harms human health. The most prominent danger linked with excessive sun exposure is skin cancer. 1 out of 5 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. And at least 2 people every hour in the United States lose their lives to skin cancer.
Given the risks of skin cancer, the US Department of Health and Human Services celebrates July as UV safety month. The primary motive of this occasion is to shed light on the harmful effects of the UV rays from the sun and encourage people to take sun-protective measures.
So, with the arrival of July, it is the perfect time for employers and HR managers to create awareness on the subject and safeguard employees' lives from the harmful effects of sun damage. Observing UV safety awareness month is much needed to level up the employee wellness game in the workplace.
If you are looking for ways to amp up the employee experience in the workplace, then you have got to observe UV safety month this year. To help you out, I have curated some of the best ways to celebrate this occasion in your workplace. In addition to it, this blog also includes some eye-opening facts related to skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Statistics
The American Cancer Society suggests that in 2023, about 97,610 new Melanoma skin cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States. And about 7990 Americans are expected to lose their lives to Melanoma.
Melanoma is one of the various types of skin cancer. It is the most common skin cancer that affects Americans. Most importantly, melanoma is seen to affect white people more than other ethnicities.
Another significant fact is that the risk of melanoma or any other type of skin cancer increases based on factors like age and genetics. Now that you have learned a bit about the statistics, let’s move on to the story's villain - Ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
A Bit About UV Radiation
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of energy the sun emits through electromagnetic waves. Artificial sources like tanning beds, sun lamps, incandescent lights, and mercury vapor lights found in stadiums also emit UV rays.
Types of UV Radiation
There is not one but three different types of UV radiation that the sun emits:
However, only some amount of UVA and a lesser amount of UVB rays reach the earth’s surface, affecting human health. And the earth’s atmosphere does not allow UVC rays to enter the earth’s atmosphere since it gets absorbed by the atmosphere itself.
Health Risks Associated With UV Radiation
Centers for Disease Control suggests prolonged exposure to UV radiation for extended hours has the following risks:
- Premature aging of the skin
- Skin cancer
- Diseases that may blind the eyes
4 Tips On How To Observe UV Safety Month In the Workplace
As you can see, exposure to excessive UV radiation is dangerous to health. Hence, as an HR or employer, if you want to promote employee wellness or health, observing UV safety month in the workplace is essential.
Here are some pointers that you can follow on the occasion of UV safety awareness month:
1. Assess UV safety in the workplace.
The foremost step in protecting your employees from the risks of UV radiation involves assessing the workstations with high UV exposure. Organizations with outdoor working areas should proactively work on this step.
Similarly, HRs should carry out the identification and evaluation of indoor workspaces for potential UV risks. Apart from this, you should also conduct a health risk assessment survey for UV safety.
To do so, connect with the employees to learn about any skin or eye troubles they are facing related to extreme sun exposure.
And accordingly, HRs should curate an action plan to minimize the side effects of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Here are some instances that HRs and employers can carry out:
Redesign the indoor workspaces that have the possibility of high UV exposure.
Use window coverings made of UV ray-blocking materials to create a conducive work environment.
If you have outdoor workers, reschedule their work hours so they don’t have to stay out working when the UV index is at its highest.
Encourage your indoor and outdoor workers to practice sun safety habits like wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, suggest they wear a hat outdoors, and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
Experts recommend everyone wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day.
Moving on to some more pointers that you as an HR or employer should consider to practice workplace sun safety.
2. Create a UV safety policy for the workplace.
An ideal workplace is well structured and follows essential HR and safety policies. In addition to following such organizational standards, bringing in a UV safety policy will help your workplace shine in the industry. Not only this, but employees will also feel valued with such an action plan.
Moreover, the UV safety policy falls under occupational health and safety. Hence, rolling out such a policy will help strengthen your HR policy scheme.
Laminated glass used for windows is known to block 98 to 99 percent of UV rays. Also, Low E glasses are another material that minimizes the entry of both UV rays and infrared rays.
3. Promote UV safety measures among employees.
This UV safety month, enforce UV protection measures by promoting the usage of items like-
- Broad spectrum sunscreen lotions with SPF 30 or higher
- Sun protective clothing (full sleeve top wear and bottom wear)
- Wide brim hats
- Shades for the eyes
In addition to all the above, employers should also provide surplus drinking water supply to keep their employees hydrated.
4. Organize a health workshop.
Reach out to a health professional nearby, requesting them to share insightful facts about the significance of UV safety month and how to follow sun protective measures.
Also, create engaging informative pamphlets citing facts related to UV radiation to distribute in the workplace.
UV rays are essential for us to maintain good health. But too much of it is dangerous for health. Hence, it is high time people understand the urgency of taking sun protective measures. If you are someone from HR and want to enhance your employees’ experience, observing UV safety month this year will help you achieve your goal.
Hope this blog helps you to observe UV safety month successfully!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can UV exposure be a concern for indoor workplaces?
Yes. Although UV exposure will always be higher in outdoor workplaces, some amount of UV rays can still penetrate through glass windows. In this case, window glasses can block harmful UVB rays. However, 50 percent of UVA rays can still pass through untinted window glasses.
So, it is always better for indoor workers to wear a sunscreen lotion with SPF 30 or higher and follow other sun protective measures like wearing:
- fully covered clothing
- full coverage sunglasses
- wide brim hats if required.
2. What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
UVA and UVB rays are two different types of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UVA rays can penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature aging. At the same time, exposure to too much UVB rays causes sunburn and is a precursor of skin cancer.
So, always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion to protect your skin from the dangers of UVA and UVB rays.
Also, UVA rays can affect the cornea and retina of the eyes, leading to cataracts and photokeratitis. To avoid such cases, protect your eyes by wearing protective eyewear on bright sunny days.
3. Are there any specific guidelines related to UV safety in the workplace?
No, there are no specific guidelines regarding UV safety in the workplace. However, it falls under occupational health and safety. So, HRs who are looking to integrate UV safety policy in the workplace can refer to OSHA standards.
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