Last reviewed 4 May 2021

Experts at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) have urged hospitality businesses to ensure staff working outdoors are protected from the sun. Even given the overcast weather over the last few days, IOSH points out that 80% of dangerous UV rays can get through a cloudy sky.

It has issued the warning as pubs, restaurants and cafes are currently only allowed to operate outdoors and this potentially puts thousands of workers at risk.

As part of its “No Time to Lose” campaign, IOSH has a series of resources which advise employers and employees on how to protect themselves from solar radiation, which can cause skin cancer.

The measures include allowing staff to wear long, loose clothing to keep the sun off their skin as well as hats and sunglasses with UV protection. Employers can also provide shaded areas for staff to have time out of the sun and supply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.

IOSH President Jimmy Quinn said: “We encourage businesses to put sun-safe measures in place to protect their staff from the sun’s harmful rays. And we encourage workers to adhere to the measures. These are very simple steps to follow. They aren’t costly, they don’t impact on productivity and, most importantly, they protect people.”

IOSH’s call comes as Sun Awareness Week begins on Monday 3 May.

In Britain, about 50 people die every year from malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer, following exposure to solar radiation at work. There are about 240 new cases every year, while there are also 1500 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed.

See No Time to Lose for more information.