Work injury: UV exposure can cause much more than heat stroke
The summer heat in Arizona poses risks to all, especially those who work outdoors. Although safety authorities issue warnings about prevention of heat exhaustion, dehydration or any other heat-related work injury, the long-term damage caused by the sun does not receive enough attention. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun increases the risk of skin cancer — the most common type of cancer.
Workers who are exposed to the sun’s UV rays while they work are at significant risk, and employers must encourage them to take the necessary precautions as part of their responsibility to provide safe work environments. Clothing blocks off UV rays, so covering as much skin as possible can help. Skin surface that is exposed must be covered with sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 30 — reapplying at frequent intervals.
Workers must also protect their heads and the backs of their necks by wearing wide-brimmed hats, which can also provide extra protection for their faces. Good quality sunglasses are essential, and they should have the ability to block out as close to 100 percent of UV rays as possible. It is not only the eyelids and the skin around the eyes that can be damaged by the sun but also the other parts of the eye such as the lens and the cornea. Seeking shade whenever possible can provide additional protection from harmful UV rays.
Outdoor workers who develop any form of skin cancer will be entitled to workers’ compensation insurance benefits just as with any other work injury. However, it might be quite a challenge to prove that the cancer is work-related. Fortunately, the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with the hazards posed by the Arizona sun is available. A lawyer can navigate the benefits claim and work to obtain all the benefits applicable to each unique case.