My college roommate, Doug, posted on Facebook he had just had two quarter size malignant skin cancer lesions removed from his ankle last week. It made me think about my own issues with skin cancer when melanoma was discovered on my back. Two quick side notes to this: Ellen, my wife, made the diagnosis that was later confirmed by my dermatologist. Second, both Doug and I are desk jocks. While we love to be out and about, we are not in the sun eight hours every day. If we are at risk for skin cancer, trade contractors’ risk is much higher.
Contractors, protect yourself and your employees. Encourage sun safety and add it to workplace policies and training.
1. Provide protective clothing and hats for your employees. The clothing should shade the face, ears and back of the neck.
2. Employees should wear sunglasses.
3. Employers should provide a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF15. Keep this at the water station so employees reapply throughout the day.
4. Increase the amount of shade with tents and shelters.
5. If possible, decrease UV reflection by covering bright or shiny surfaces.
So how does this come back to insurance? The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to minimize risk of harm to employees. In some states, employers may be required to provide workers’ compensation to employees who get skin cancer because of sun exposure on the job! The failure to provide proper protection from the sun could be considered a willful and wanton neglect of safety standards, not unlike telling a carpenter to take the guards of a table saw. This type of negligence could open you up to an Employer’s Liability claim that must be defended in court and not in front of the Industrial Commission of Ohio like a Worker’s Compensation claim.
Before you head out into the sunshine make sure you and your employees are covered, in more ways than one. Contact your local Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent at Richey-Barrett Insurance to discuss all of your insurance needs.