May is Skin Cancer Detection and Awareness Month. Now is a great time to talk to your employees about the importance of proper skin protection, especially if they work primarily outdoors.
More than 3.5 Million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year. It is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
The following information comes from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:
Sun exposure at any age can cause skin cancer. Be especially careful in the sun if you burn easily, spend a lot of time outdoors, or have any of the following physical features:
- Numerous, irregular, or large moles.
- Fair skin.
- Blond, red, or light brown hair.
It’s important to examine your body monthly because skin cancers detected early can almost always be cured. The most important warning sign is a spot on the skin that is changing in size, shape, or color during a period of 1 month to 1 or 2 years.
Skin cancers often take the following forms:
- Pale, wax-like, pearly nodules.
- Red, scaly, sharply outlined patches.
- Sores that don’t heal.
- Small, mole-like growths – melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
If you find such unusual skin changes, see a health care professional immediately.
Block Out UV Rays
- Cover up. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light. Try this test: Place your hand between a single layer of the clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, the garment offers little protection.
- Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. You want to block both UVA and UVB rays to guard against skin cancer. Be sure to follow application directions on the bottle.
- Wear a hat. A wide brim hat (not a baseball cap) is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
- Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
- Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you’re unsure about the sun’s intensity, take the shadow test: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are the day’s strongest.
The Seltzer Group, located in Eastern Pennsylvania, specializes in developing safety, workers compensation, human resources, claims, and risk financing programs. They are a proud member of the Keystone Insurers Group and are nationally recognized for their expertise in workers compensation solutions. The Seltzer Group serves businesses and individuals locally, regionally, and on the national level.