The amount of hours landscapers and crews put into a day extends throughout the hotter months, but with longer hours comes the inevitable exposure to UV rays.
Time and time again the topic of sun exposure is addressed in landscaping businesses nationwide, but the question is, how much of that discussion is put into practice out in the field?
According to an article from the Skin Cancer Foundation, in the past two decades, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number Hispanics with an incidence of melanoma.
The Department of Labor states that Latinos account for almost one in four workers in the construction industry. Additionally, there are more than 500,000 Hispanic workers in the landscape industry in the United States, according to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In 2014 alone, the estimates approximately 76,100 individuals will be diagnosed with melanoma (43,980 in men and 32,210 in women). The organization estimates approximately 9,710 people are expected to die of melanoma (6,470 men and 3,240 women). The Skin Care Foundation reports one person dies of melanoma every hour.
“Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2 percent (1 in 50) for whites, 0.1 percent (1 in 1,000) for blacks, and 0.5 percent (1 in 200) for Hispanics,” the American Cancer Society states.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a way for individuals to learn about .
There are different varieties of skin cancer, and not all of them are as dangerous as the infamous melanoma.
For instance, basal and squamous cell skin cancers are called non-melanomas, which are found on the outer layer of the skin.
The American Cancer Society says these types of cancers can develop on sun-exposed areas of the skin, like the face, ear, neck, lips and backs of the hands. The cancers can be slowly growing but can also spread to other parts of the body. These types can be cured if treated early.
Other rare types include keratoacanthomas, Merkel cell carcinoma, skin lymphoma, Kaposi sarcoma, skin adnexal tumors and sarcomas.
As for melanoma, this cancer begins in the melanocytes, which are cells that produce the skin coloring known as melanin.
Melanoma is almost always curable if detected early, according to the American Cancer Society.
If landscapers and crews decide to battle the sun head on, they will lose every time.
It’s important for landscapers to share information and get informed about understanding the sun’s strength, even down to the very basics.
For instance, everyone knows putting on sunscreen is a basic step in preventing sunburn. However, do you know if you’re choosing the right sunscreen?
Always be sure to read the label before purchasing sunscreen and look for the phrase “broad spectrum” protections. This label means the sunscreen can block UVA and UVB rays.
Additionally, “water resistant” does not mean “waterproof”, the American Cancer Society states. If a product has this phrase, the manufacturer must put a specific amount of time it works while sweating.
Landscapers also need to be reading more than just the labels on sunscreen. It’s a good idea to check the UV index every day, especially as the summer days get hotter.
EPA provides a every day for the country. Be sure to check your area for the week to see how high the UV Index will be, because the UV Index provides the expected risk of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.
Protecting your employees should be your number one goal, and that includes sun safety.
Landscapers have safety trainings every week, and proper sun safety should be addressed.
Here are a few guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation for outdoor workers: