Heat stress prevention - Buff Safety Sun protection accessories
Sun protection at work to prevent heatstroke and other problems

Although sometimes underestimated, sun protection at work is vital. Did you know that heat-related work absences have doubled in recent years? In addition, climate change is increasing the incidence of heatstroke and skin cancer related problems. So, what measures should be taken to prevent adverse effects from heat and the sun in work settings?

Why are sun protection measures at work so important?

Temperatures can typically reach close to 40ºC in summer, often going higher, a circumstance that causes many heat-related work absences, particularly in hotter countries. The prestigious journal, The Lancet, in an article called Heat and Health, revealed that climate change is increasing the duration, frequency, and intensity of heatwaves throughout the world, meaning more deaths and diseases related to this phenomenon are likely in the coming years.

According to the study, there were over 356,000 heat-related deaths around the world in 2019 alone. The article’s authors point to many of these deaths potentially having been avoided by mitigating the effects of climate change (for which they call for an urgent and coordinated worldwide effort) and by less exposure to extreme heat.

Heatwaves and all their adverse effects are experienced by outdoor workers in particular. This makes it vital that they adopt sun protection measures at work.

Potential sun-related problems at work

Outdoor workers, such as those working in construction, agriculture, and on public works, must use sun protection measures at work. Otherwise, some of the potential problems they face include:

  1. Heatstroke: one of the most serious consequences of not adopting sun protection measures at work. It can be triggered by prolonged exposure to high temperatures or the combination of physical effort and high temperatures. It occurs when body temperature reaches at least 40ºC. Human body temperature has to remain a constant 37ºC. Heatstroke must be treated immediately, otherwise it can cause damage to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys, as well as muscles. Any delay in treatment can lead to serious complications and even death. Sun protection at work is very important for prevention.
  2. Cramps: these are painful and involuntary muscle spasms that can occur after intense physical activity in hot environments.
  3. Dehydration: this occurs when the body loses too much water, which needs to be replaced by drinking water. It is often caused by strong bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea, but it can also occur due to not drinking enough water on hot days.
  4. Burns: sun protection at work is essential for their prevention. They occur due to excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (UV). There are two types of rays: UVB, which can cause burns, and UVA, which can penetrate deeper into the skin and cause premature skin ageing.
  5. Skin cancer: excessive exposure to the sun’s rays (UVB and UVA), which despite not appearing as burns, increases the risk of skin cancers, such as melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It mainly appears on areas exposed to the sun: the face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, legs, back, as well as the scalp. Clearly another compelling reason to adopt sun protection measures at work.

Protecting against heat and the sun at work: preventive measures

Preventing the serious consequences of exposure to the sun indicated here requires adopting sun protection measures at work.

It is better to remain vigilant even on cloudy or cooler days, and particular care is needed in settings with water, snow, or sand, as they all reflect the sun’s rays, as well as high altitudes where UV light is more intense. 

These are the main sun protection measures at work:

  1. Hydration: making drinking water available to workers is important.
  2. Plan tasks requiring greater physical effort for cooler times of the day.
  3. Make use of areas of shade for as long as possible.
  4. Use creams containing sun protection factor: it should be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
  5. Cover the head and areas of the body exposed to the sun: it is important for outdoor workers to use garments that provide sun protection at work to cover legs, arms, and the neck, along with caps to protect the head and very sensitive areas, such as eyes and lips.
  6. Use suitable attire: clothing should be made from light-coloured, light and breathable fabrics, and it is very important that it contains UPF50.

The importance of UPF50 in garments for sun protection at work

Most fabrics allow UV rays to pass between their fibres, meaning that the skin remains exposed to the harmful effects shown earlier. This means they aren’t recommended for sun protection at work. Fabrics capable of blocking these rays are now available. The manufacturing techniques used to provide this property include chemical baths and adding layers containing ceramic particles.

The UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) indicates the level of UV radiation that the garment blocks. UPF 50+ is the highest rating, meaning that the garment blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays. This is why it is essential that PPEs providing sun protection at work are UPF50.

Why choose BUFF® Safety sun protection products?

Do you need sun protection at work for your team? Then look no further than BUFF® Safety sun protection products. This collection comprises the Pack Cap and Pack Bimini Cap, Arm Sleeves, and the CoolNet UV® multifunctional neckwear.

All these accessories, designed with the most advanced technology, offer the best possible UV protection with characteristics that make them unique:

  1. The CoolNet UV® contains UPF 50 and Cooling HeiQ Smart Temp technology, controlling humidity, providing an instant and constant cooling effect. This reduces the risks of exhaustion due to heat, fatigue, and heatstroke, and makes it an essential accessory to guarantee occupational safety for workers exposed to the sun. The neckwear is also multifunctional as it can be used in several positions to cover more area and provide protection against UV rays. It’s like having several accessories in one!
  2. The Arm Sleeves also have HeiQ Smart Temp cooling technology and a UPF50 certificate. They are made from recycled polyester and are very soft, light, and breathable. An ideal accessory for medium and high intensity activities in hot and sunny environments.
  3. The Pack Caps and Pack Bimini Caps, also UPF50 certified, while being very fresh, light, and breathable, have a standout feature that makes them really practical: they can be folded up, meaning they can be carried around comfortably at all times. The ideal cap for protecting the cheeks and the nape is the Pack Bimini Cap, which has the same characteristics, but also has a neck cape that covers those areas from exposure to the sun’s rays.

Lastly, it is worth noting that BUFF® Safety UPF50 products for sun protection at work are certified as PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) against ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/425. They have been tested in accordance with the following test standard: EN ISO 13688:2013 Protective clothing — General requirements. The fabric was tested according to standard AS/NZS 4399:2017 “Sun protective clothing – Evaluation and classification”, obtaining results that reach UPF50 (blocking 98% of UV radiation).

Invest in the best sun protection at work with the BUFF® Safety sun protection range!

Top BUFF® Products for sun protection
Coolnet UV Yellow Fluor
Pack Cap Yellow Fluor
Pack Bimini Cap Solid Sand
Original Orange Fluor


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