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Published: May, 2009; Vol 5, Num 12

 

Sun Sense Rises to New Heights

Over the last year, the LHSFNA’s Health Promotion Division saw an astonishing 20 percent increase in the amount of materials ordered from its annual Sun Sense Skin Cancer Prevention Campaign. Sun protection items were shipped in record numbers to training centers, local unions and LECET funds across the nation.

“We’re happy to see that it’s catching on and people are getting the message,” says LHSFNA Management Co-Chairman Noel C. Borck. “This indicates that LIUNA members, training centers and signatory employers are making good choices in guarding against sun damage.”

The Sun Sense Campaign, which kicks off annually in the spring, creates awareness among Laborers of skin cancer, premature aging and other damaging effects of solar radiation.Campaign materials include neck flaps, lip balm, sunscreen towelettes, assorted posters, health alert cards in English and Spanish, UV cards and melanoma bookmarks. “Sample sizes of these products help workers learn the basics of prevention,” Borck notes, “and encourage workers to think of sun protection materials as part of their safety equipment all year long.”

Sun Sense is just the beginning. There are many other ways to guard against the sun’s harmful rays. Some sunscreens on the market have SPFs as high as 70. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen above SPF 15. It also recommends waterproof sunscreen that can be reapplied every two hours.  Lightweight, long sleeve shirts and long pants are advised for working in the sun. Some clothing is made specifically to block UV rays from reaching the skin. These clothes generally have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) value listed on their labels. High UPFs give higher protection. In addition, sunglasses and goggles designed for construction workers should be ANSI-approved and provide UV protection.

Being sun smart is not solely about covering up but also includes education. The Fund’s health alerts and bookmarks promote self-exams and other habits regarding the sun. Some Laborers have prevented skin cancer by recognizing the warning signs on the melanoma bookmark. “These are great take-aways for your toolbox talks,” Borck says.  “In 15 minutes, you can share a wealth of information that can potentially save a life.”

He continues, “Sunscreen, neck flaps and other materials are an essential part of being safe on the job, and the Sun Sense Campaign puts the responsibility in your hands. You wouldn’t go to work without your boots and hard hat. Don’t leave the house without sun protection.”

For more information on how to order Skin Cancer Prevention Campaign supplies, contact the Health Promotion Division at (202) 628-5465.

[Jennifer E. Jones]

Other Helpful Links:

The American Cancer Society

National Cancer Institute