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Sun awareness week: is your scaffolding workforce protected against solar radiation?

26th April 2018

The risk associated with working on scaffolding is not just centred on being at a construction site that comes with its own risks, but the external factors that could be detrimental to health. Everybody working outdoors will be at risk of solar radiation, and with cases of skin cancer rising across the UK it is essential that employers ensure that their workforce is doing all they can to reduce the danger.

Running between 14 – 20th May 2018, Sun Awareness Week aims to expose the risks that spending too much time in the sun as well as promote using safe practices whilst out in hot weather. In light of Sun Awareness Week, we wanted to provide some insights into how scaffolders can reduce their risk to sun exposure. Take a look at our top tips below.

Solar radiation

How can workers reduce exposure to solar radiation?

As summer fast approaches and temperatures rise, it is essential that you prepare your workforce for exposure to sun radiation using the following methods:

  • Regularly check the weather forecast, paying close attention to the UV index which provides an indicator (1-11) on how much UV you could be exposed to. When UV is high, it is highly recommended that scaffolders avoid working outside
  • Ensure workers spend their breaks inside or in the shade
  • Rotate worker’s jobs to reduce the amount of time they spend in direct sunlight
  • Install covers or shades for those working outside
  • Ensure workers wear loose-fitting clothing that covers arms and legs and provide UV filtering eye protection
  • Encourage workers to regularly check their skin for unusual moles, or changes to moles
  • Ensure workers use sun tan lotion of at least 30 SPF

Our Toolbox Talk on Solar Radiation provides further details on the risk associate with exposure to the sun when working outside, as well a guidance and links for further reading on the issue.

Further reading on the prevention of skin cancer is available from the Skcin charity – visit their website at