What Is UV?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation rays are found in sunlight; there are 3 different wavelengths: UVA, UVB and UVC.
Fortunately, UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer and don't reach the Earth's surface. However, UVA and UVB cause tanning, burning, ageing, wrinkling and skin cancer in people who are exposed without UV protection.
UVA rays are present all year round and can pass through glass, clouds and even some materials. UVB intensity depends on the season, environment and time of day. Generally speaking the greatest levels of UVB hit the UK between 10:00am and 4:00pm during April - October.
The NHS, Cancer Research UK and the Government have all released health warnings in regards to long exposure to UV rays. However, it should be kept in mind that small amounts of UV are beneficial for people and essential for the production of Vitamin D.
You can find out more about harmful UV rays on the Cancer Research UK website.
Who's At Risk?
Anybody who works outdoors for long periods of time may be exposed to more sun than is healthy. Outdoor workers that are at risk include construction workers and some public service workers.
Some people are more at risk of skin damage than others. You should take particular care if you have:
- Fair or freckled skin which doesn't tan, or burns before it tans
- Light coloured eyes and red or fair hair
- A large amount of moles (around 50 or more)
What Protection Is There?
Protecting your workforce from UV radiation is incredibly important. The law requires that employers adequately control exposure to materials in the workplace that cause ill health; including materials which enter the body through the skin and cause damage (UV rays)! As such, employers are required to provide information and health and safety training to ensure workers are aware of the dangers.
When UV protection is required, workers should always be ready and have sunscreen supplies to hand. A high factor sunscreen of SPF15 or above is recommended for any exposed skin when outside for extended periods of time. When looking to purchase UVA protection in particular, you should check for the UVA logo which indicates the product meets EU recommendation.
Swift360 provides a range of sunscreens and sprays to keep outdoor workers protected; for any enquiries please get in touch.