Working in the Sun

Sunburn and UV radiation are hot topics during the summer months, so it’s important to ensure they don’t burn a hole in your employees’ wellbeing (double pun intended).

That’s not to say you need to restrict your employees to the shade, but it is all about identifying and managing the risks.

At least 1,500 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 240 new cases of malignant melanoma associated to sun exposure at work are diagnosed in Britain each year.

Potential risks of working in heat?

  • Sunburn
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heat rash
  • Severe thirst
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue, nausea, headache, hot dry skin
  • Confusion, convulsions and even loss of consciousness

Good to know – 90% of all skin cancer deaths can be prevented if businesses and their employees take the proper precautions.

We’ve listed below some helpful hints and tips to help below –

UV index

The UV index lets you know the strength of UV rays given off by the sun wherever you are so you can react.


If it’s a hot day try to organise the day’s workload so that you aren’t directly under the sun during the hottest hours (typically between 11-3).

Take a break

Breaks are important all year round, but particularly in the sun. Take regular breaks as an opportunity to cool off in the shade and drink water.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water.

Good to know – Caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you further, so try to avoid tea and coffee.

Cover up

Encourage long-sleeved tops and trousers wherever possible made of loose fitting material.

Hats & sunglasses

Encourage hats and sunglasses – hats should ideally shade the face, neck, ears and head

Factor 15+

Fator 15 is the minimum recommendation even on cloudy days, so choose a higher SPF if possible and reapply frequently.

Afterall back in 2017 three-fifths of builders said they “would rub sun cream on a workmate” , so we can only hope its increased?

Early detection saves lives

Encourage employees to regularly check their skin for moles and any changes.

Other recommended resources

Free Risk Assessment Template

Download our free guide to writing your Risk Assessment.

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Free COSHH Assessment Template

Free COSHH Assessment advice from HS Direct, learn how to write your own COSHH Assessments.

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Free Health & Safety Policy template

Free Health & Safety Policy information plus a guide to writing your own Health & Safety Policy.

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Construction Phase Plan

Download your free Construction Phase Plan template now.

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