Since launching Water.Rest.Shade. a decade ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has focused on educating employers about the dangers of working in high-heat conditions. In addition to encouraging measures like employee monitoring and training, OSHA recommends businesses provide outdoor workers with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). And that includes sunscreen. This Summer Safety Month, we’re sharing tips to help maximize the benefits of this PPE.

Pick sunscreens that:

  • Include SPFs of at least 15, which studies show block 93 percent of UV rays
  • Offer broad-spectrum coverage to protect against UVA and UVB rays
  • Contain American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)-approved physical blockers, such as zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, that reflect UV rays away from skin

OSHA also recommends selecting sunscreens that are water resistant and do not contain insect repellent. In general, the AAD suggests creams for dry skin or faces; gels for hairy areas (e.g., scalps); sticks for around eyes; and sprays for convenience.

Apply sunscreen:

  • 15 minutes before going outdoors, even on cloudy days
  • To all exposed skin, including lips and any areas of the body where the sun’s rays may reach (e.g., tops of feet or head)

As a rule of thumb, the average adult should aim to use one ounce of sunscreen per full-body application. Individuals should reapply every two hours, after sweating, or in accordance with the bottle’s directions.

Sunscreen alone isn’t enough to protect workers from the sun’s adverse effects. If your workplace needs assistance developing or implementing a heat illness prevention program, contact us at