June 15, 2009
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada. The primary cause of skin cancer is sun exposure. Members of the green industry who work outdoors have a higher risk for developing this type of cancer. Often this exposure happens during those times in the day when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which will harm the skin, is at its strongest, between 12 noon and 2 p.m.

The good news is that skin cancer is largely preventable by protecting yourself. The Canadian Dermatology Association offers the following suggestions to cut down on your chances of getting skin cancer.
  • The most dangerous time in direct sun is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Seek shade from buildings, trees, canopies, etc., as much as possible, especially during lunch and coffee breaks.
  • Wear clothing that covers as much of the body as possible.  Fabrics which do not let light through work the best. Make sure clothing is loose and comfortable.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat (more than eight cm or three inches). Attach a back flap to a construction helmet to cover the back of the neck and a visor for the front of the face.
  • Apply an SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB) sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin. Reapply at midday, or more often if you are perspiring heavily. Spray on sunscreens may be less sticky and may be more suitable for use when there are moving particles in the air, such as dust or grass.
  • Apply a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher lip balm.

For more information, including posters, fact sheets, and a sun safety policy template, visit www.dermatology.ca/outdoorworkers.