EPA Issues Action Steps for Sun Safety, Employers Act Now to Protect Workers

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released action steps for sun protection as part of “SunWise” their program that radiates good ideas. The SunWise Program addresses the public health threat that overexposure in the sun and ultraviolet (UV) radiation presents. Sun exposure poses a particular threat to outdoor workers. Not only can overexposure to UV radiation from the sun result in painful sunburns, but it can lead to more serious health problems like heat illness, rashes, eye damage, and immune system suppression.

Who is affected?

Workers exposed to high heat, hot and humid conditions are at risk of sun-related illnesses. Those at severe risk are workers doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Also workers that are new to working in the sun or have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions are at greater risk for exposure.

How can employers prevent heat and sun-related illnesses?

Preventive measures can make all the difference. Workers can do the following:

  • generously apply sunscreen
  • wear protective clothing when possible and appropriate
  • get out of the sun and rest by finding shade especially during times when the UV rays are strongest, 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • drink water often
  • use extra caution when near water, snow and sand
  • check the UV Index when planning outdoor work assignments, if possible
  • report heat symptoms early, and
  • know what to do in an emergency

Compliance Poster Company has several heat-related products for purchase.  These products comply with state and/or federal rules, regulations, and standards. The product offering includes the following:

The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has available a handy workplace planning checklist for employers to use to prepare for hot weather and to make sure all appropriate precautions are in place.

For specific compliance questions call our Compliance Advisors at 800.817.7678. They are happy to help you with all of your workplace job safety and health and general compliance-related needs. Or visit us on the web at www.complianceposter.com.  We have a dedicated legal research labor law team ready to tackle even the toughest questions or concerns. Or to learn more about harmful effects of sun exposure in the workplace, UV radiation, the action steps for sun protection, and the SunWise Program, call the EPA’s Stratospheric Ozone Information Hotline at 800.296.1996, or visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov/sunwise.

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