Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator
A day in the life of a farmer can mean sun exposure from sun up to sun down. Farmers would be hard pressed to avoid the sun entirely. Performing work tasks requires time in the sun, often for the entirety of the workday.
Sun exposure presents a safety hazard that can be equally as deadly as equipment hazards on the farm. Here are some of the hard facts to prove the risks:
- One person dies of melanoma every hour.
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime
- Regular daily use of SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces risk of melanoma by 50%
- Ultraviolet rays cause the vast majority of mutations in melanoma.
- Your risk for developing melanoma doubles if you have had more than five sunburns.
So what can you do to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays?
- Wear protective clothing
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Full-length pants
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher year-round. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive swimming.
- Utilize engineering adaptions to create shade
(Remember clouds give a false sense of protection!)
Seek medical attention when moles have:
- Irregular borders
- Multiple colors
- Tendency to bleed
- A diameter larger than a pencil eraser
Use that Skin Cancer Image Gallery at the American Cancer Society website, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/skin-cancer/galleries/skin-cancer-image-gallery.html, as a reference tool.
Sources: American Academy of Dermatology, American Cancer Society, EPA, and the Skin Cancer Foundation.