Sun Safety Tips

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      When thinking about farm safety, one may include such topics as machinery, livestock, chemical, and child safety. But have you ever thought of farm safety involving the topic of sun protection? The sun can be very dangerous, especially to those who work outside!

      Why do I need protection from the sun?
      Depletion of the ozone layer is causing more UV (ultraviolet) light to reach us and our children. This sunlight can cause a lot of damage, including wrinkles, sunspots, aging skin and of course, skin cancer. Protection from the sun is a must!

      What can I do to protect myself from the sun?
      SLIP, SLAP, and SLOP! Simply SLIP on some protective clothing, SLAP on a hat, and SLOP on some sunscreen.

      What type of sunscreen should I use, and what is SPF?
      SPF or sun protection factor refers to the protection offered against the sun’s UVB rays, which are known to cause both sunburn and skin cancer. The higher the SPF rating, the longer it takes for your skin to burn when wearing a sunscreen compared to the time it would take to burn without any protection.

      Dermatologists recommend using a broad-spectrum, SPF 15 or higher sunscreen. All sunscreens should be generously applied 30 minutes before you go outside and need to be reapplied every 3 to 4 hours. And don’t forget lip balm that contains sunscreen!

      Does my baseball cap provide enough protection from the sun?
      Baseball caps usually do not shield the back of the neck, the ears, or the cheeks; areas where skin cancers often appear. Hats with a 3 inch or greater brim are recommended, as they provide protection around the nose, cheeks, and back of the neck. Legionnaire-style caps (with a back flap) are also recommended.

      Can I get sunburnt on a cloudy day?
      Much of the sun’s damaging UV rays can penetrate light cloud cover, haze, and fog. These rays are invisible and they do not feel hot. Therefore, we are often fooled by the clouds and our skin suffers.

      Does a tan protect my skin from the sun?
      No. Tanned skin has already been damaged by the sun. A tan is your skin’s response to the injury that UV radiation from the sun has already caused.

      Sun Protective Tips To Live By:

      • Work in the shade between 11 am - 4 pm
      • Choose protective clothing, a protective hat, and sunscreen while outside
      • Check with the doctor if:
      • moles change shape or color
      • if sores will not heal
      • if unusual growths occur
      • Set an example for your family by wearing sun protection!
      For more information on UV radiation, sunburns, and cancer, check Government of Canada’s page UV Index and Sun Protection.

      Alberta Farm Safety Program
      or toll-free: 310-FARM (3276)

      Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Farm Safety Staff:
      Janice Donkers, Youth Coordinator:
      Kenda Lubeck, Coordinator:
      Raelyn Peterson, Coordinator:
      Sharon Stollery, Manager:
      Blair Takahashi, Specialist:
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    For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
    This information published to the web on June 3, 2003.
    Last Reviewed/Revised on November 8, 2018.