Other Summer Health Hazards for Laborers

  • Lyme Disease – caused by the bite of certain ticks
    • Wear light-colored clothing to facilitate detection of ticks Wear long-sleeved pants and shirts, tuck pants into socks or boots
    • Wear high boots or closed shoes; wear hats
    • Use DEET insect repellant on non-facial skin (follow directions carefully)
    • Use permethrins on clothes monthly (not on skin)
    • Do daily body checks for ticks
  • West Nile Virus – caused by bites from infected mosquitoes
    • Eliminate standing water on worksites
    • Limit work at sunrise and sunset
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks
    • Spray thin clothing with DEET or permethrins
    • Spray non-facial skin with DEET (follow instructions carefully)
  • Heat exhaustion and heat stroke – caused by overexposure to high temperatures and high humidity
    • Avoid strenuous work during hottest hours; take rest breaks
    • Drink 6 ounces of water every 20 minutes (your body may need water before thirst signals)
    • Check with doctor to see if medications reduce tolerance to sunlight or heat
    • Avoid sudden changes in temperature (air out a hot car before entering)

In May, the LHSFNA Health Promotion Division will launch its annual skin cancer prevention campaign known as Sun Sense. The campaign is designed to warn Laborers about the dangers of solar exposure and to get them started in self-protection.

Because they work peak hours (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) under the summer sun, Laborers are particularly vulnerable to skin cancer. The best protection includes long-sleeved shirts, neck flaps that attach to a hardhat, SPF 15 or higher sunscreen and sunblock for the nose and lips.

The Fund conducts its annual campaign in collaboration with the Laborers-AGC training centers and local unions across the United States and Canada. The Fund distributes packets of SPF 30 sunscreen towelettes along with neck flaps, lip balm, bookmarks on the ABCDs of melanoma, posters and other educational materials.

Melanoma is a potentially fatal form of skin cancer, but early detection and prompt medical attention can ensure successful treatment. Indications of possible melanoma include any mole that changes shape, color or size; any persistent patch or sore that does not heal; or any new growth on the skin.

For more information about the Sun Sense Program, contact the LHSFNA Health Promotion Division.

[Steve Clark]