Sun Safety for Outdoor Workers

Hugh Daly, managing director of Equus Design & Build, is passionate about sun safety for his team following his personal battles with skin cancer and they are delighted to be supporting the British Skin Foundation in 2021.

Hugh attributes his skin cancer to being frequently sunburnt in his youth while working on construction sites and farms with his shirt off aiming to catch the ‘healthy glow’, which we now know to be so dangerous. Having first been diagnosed 10 years ago and requiring active intervention from the NHS, Hugh is now in good health, but the threat of recurrence has prompted him to be proactive in protecting his staff.

Skin cancer is unfortunately the most common cancer type in the world, and according to the IOSH’s ‘No Time to Lose Campaign’, 1700 people in Britain are diagnosed annually due to occupational exposure to UV radiation. With construction workers being one of the professions who spend a huge proportion of time working outside, skin cancer is a significant concern to the industry.

On-Site Protocols

With temperatures currently rising around the UK, UV protection on-site is a priority for the Equus Design and Build team and should be a priority for all construction employers and their employees this Summer. Active intervention is needed to improve worker awareness and sun safety.  

Delighted to be supporting The British Skin Foundation in 2021, Equus Design & Build have strict on-site protocols for all members of their team to ensure their long-term skin safety in the sun, and during especially hot periods and where appropriate, the team are offered to start work at 5.30 in the morning and finish earlier to avoid the hottest part of the day. Employees working on-site must wear at least t-shirts at all times, and hats are strongly encouraged while working outdoors. Staff are frequently spoken to about the dangers of the Sun’s UV rays and high factor sunscreen of at least SPF15 on any exposed skin is actively encouraged. Alongside this the team promote frequent checking of the skin for unusual moles and spots and seeing a doctor if any areas of skin change colour, itch or bleed. Moreover, employees are urged to take their breaks and eat lunch in the shade and drink plenty throughout the day to remain hydrated.

While attitudes towards UV protection continue to be difficult to change with the appeal for a ‘nice tan’ remaining as strong as ever, Equus Design & Build are hopeful that raising awareness and sharing the knowledge will go some way in preventing the abundance of skin cancer within the industry. Working alongside The British Skin Foundation, they aim to create specific literature and improve messaging both for their team, the construction industry, and wider members of the community in order to spread the word and minimise the risk.

Learn more about the British Skin Foundation and their research here.

Take a look at the British Skin Foundation feature on Hugh and the Equus team here.