Guarding Against the Sun
Summer is here and with it comes those lazy, hazy days. Well, maybe not lazy but hazy can take a toll. The UV rays of the sun are powerful and dangerous; outdoor workers need to take precautions. The sun is amazing. It is approximately 150 million kilometers from us yet it provides light and warmth here on earth. It also affects our health through ultraviolet (UV) rays. At the sun’s core, a nuclear reaction happens that creates radiation, also known as energy. Different wavelengths create different types of radiation.
UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate deeper into the base layer of the skin. Approximately 95% of these rays reach us on earth. These rays pass through clouds so sun protection is necessary even on cloudy days!
UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and burn the outer layer of the skin. A large amount of UVB rays is absorbed by the ozone layer and only about 5% reaches the earth’s surface.
UVC rays are blocked by the ozone and never make their way to us here on earth. However, some industrial processes like welding artificially create UVC rays.
In 1992, scientists at Environment and Climate Change Canada created the UV Index, measuring the strength of UV rays. They wanted to help protect Canadians from the dangers of sun exposure. Two years later, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program recognized the value of this tool and declared the UV Index as an international program. It is now used around the world.
People that spend a lot of time outdoors should monitor the UV Index. Ranging from zero to 11+ in Canada, the values are grouped into five levels of risk. Low (0-2), Moderate (3-5), High (6-7), Very High (8-10) and Extreme (11+).
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are obligated to ensure the health of their employees (as far as reasonably practical). That means employers need to inform, instruct, train and supervise employees with regards to heat-related hazards.
Outdoor workers, naturally, have long-term sun exposure and need to be proactive to protect themselves. Even jobs inside a vehicle can require precautions. Many types of glass provide some levels of sun protection but none is completely sun proof. A welding arc can burn just like sunlight so UV protection cream needs to be applied to exposed areas.
When it comes to sun protection cream, there are several things to look for on the label. UVA protection is typically noted as a separate label on the packaging. UVB Sun Protection Factor (SPF) represents the level of protection against UVB. Outdoor workers should use a minimum of SPF 30. The UVC rating will describe the protection against the rays produced during certain industrial processes (like welding).
In addition to using the correct product, it’s imperative that sun protection is applied properly. In fact, the SPF is only guaranteed if it is used correctly and reapplied accordingly. The majority of people that use sunscreen will smear some on and then spend the day in the sun, expecting that initial application to protect them for the whole day.
Most outdoor workers apply less than half of the recommended amount – which leaves them half as protected as they should be. Over time, the product wears off due to sweating, washing and mechanical wear and needs to be reapplied at least every 2-3 hours.
Because we know how important it is to protect yourself – and your workers – from the sun, we are featuring sun protection products for the month of June by offering the following products on sale.
Stokoderm’s Sun Protect 30 PURE is perfume free, water resistant and SPF 30. That provides 30 times the skin’s normal protection against the sun’s UVB rays. This cream offers protection from UVA and UVB rays. It’s ideal for workers on the move and comes in convenient tubes of 30 or 100 ml. This product is safe to be used by outdoor electricians wearing electrical insulating gloves as it passed the Lineman’s glove testing.
We are also offering Stokoderm’s Sun Protect 30 PURE in a 1 L cartridge. This size will provide approximately 1000 shots per cartridge. This product is quickly and easily absorbed and does not impact dexterity with hand held tools.
Also on sale during the month of June is the Deb Sun 1000 dispenser to be used with the 1 L cartridges. This hygienic, sealed cartridge and dispenser are ideal for high traffic areas.
If you have any questions about how to protect your team from the sun and its powerful rays, reach out to our Checkers team. We can help you choose the right product for the job. We are your clean resource!