We Build the Future, a UK construction charity, has launched a campaign to promote sun safety in the construction sector. The move aims to mitigate the risk and occurrence of skin cancer among workers who are exposed to the sun on a regular basis as part of their jobs. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation means construction operatives face an increased threat of developing skin cancer. Despite comprising only 8% of the workforce, they account for 44% of occupational skin cancer diagnoses and 42% of related deaths annually.
The campaign objective of We Build the Future’s objective preventive campaign is to lower the likelihood and occurrence of skin cancer by promoting sun safety measures at all construction sites.
The campaign will:
• Promote awareness of UV risk among built environment industry workers and employers;
• Provide access to simple advice on how to reduce UV risk;
• Campaign for sites and offices to adopt safe practices to reduce UV risks;
• Promote access to information and advice for people with concerns about skin cancer.
Additional support has come from Melanoma UK and Rainbow Signs, who have teamed up with the charity to offer employers and main contractors sun safety boards for their construction sites.
Individuals who work outdoors are regularly exposed to the sun, and those working in construction and the built environment are especially susceptible to this risk. The campaign will raise awareness amongst construction workers and their bosses, who can seek further advice by following these stages:
Step 1 – Flag UV risks using SunSafe site boards
It is hoped that every building site will use one of the UV risk site boards on offer to let people working or visiting the site know whether the UV risk requires them to take action to protect themselves. Updated daily, the UV risk indicator provides a simple traffic light method to follow - red (high risk), amber (medium risk) or green (no risk) indicator and provides simple advice on protective measures.
Step 2 – Help people reduce UV risk
When UV risk is high everyone needs to take simple steps to protect themselves:
• Cover up – wear long trousers, long-sleeved tops, a hat and sunscreen
• Use sunscreen – Put sunscreen (at least SPF30 and 4 or 5 stars) on parts you can’t cover up such as face and neck – re-apply generously every two hours.
• Seek shade – work in the shade if you can, especially between 11 am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.
• Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water.
Step 3 – Help people get the support they need. If people are concerned about changes in their skin, they should always seek medical advice.
• Staff are supported in taking time out to get conditions checked.
• Everyone knows that their employer places a high value on staying sun safe
• If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, you can get advice, help and support by calling the Melanoma UK helpline on 0808 1712 455.
Prevention is better than cure
Richard Harral, founder of We Build the Future, said:
“Rates of skin cancer are rising faster than any other cancer in the UK. With 86% of all skin cancers resulting from over-exposure to UV radiation from the sun, the majority are preventable.
“Our sun-safe campaign is about prevention, detection and awareness, with the site boards a clear and visual way to highlight the risk of sunlight and help try and change attitudes and behaviours.
“We urge construction site owners, employers and employees to take advantage of this innovative safety initiative.”
For further information, or if you wish to sign up or sponsor the sun safety campaign, please contact email@example.com
We Build The Future is a construction and built environment sector charity. They raise funds to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and support industry workers dealing with the impact of cancer.