Spotting the danger
A sun tan is a sign that your skin has been damaged. This damage is caused by the ultraviolet rays in the sunlight (UV).
Who is at risk?
If you work outdoors and expose your skin to the sun for long periods of time, it can be extremely damaging. Like most outdoor workers, tree surgeons get hot and it is always tempting to take your shirt off to benefit from a cooling breeze.
Workers with the following characteristics should take particular care:
- Freckled or fair skin that tends to burn in the sun
- Fair or red hair
Harmful effects of working in the sun
Regardless of complexion, we should all avoid overheating, dehydration and damage to our eyes.
Even slight reddening of the skin from exposure to the sun is a sign of damage, with sunburn blistering the skin and causing it to peel. Long periods of exposure to the sun can lead to serious long-term problems. Over-exposure speeds up the ageing of your skin, making it wrinkled and leathery, although most serious is the increased chance of developing skin cancer.
How to protect yourself
- Work in the shade wherever possible.
- Keep your top on and wear long sleeved tops if practical.
- If you take a break sit in the shade.
- Using high factor sunscreen is highly recommended.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. There are great water devices available.
- Checking your skin for unusual moles is recommended and contact your GP if you notice anything that changes size, shape, colour or is itchy or bleeds.
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