A sun safe life with sun protective clothing
Now those foul weather days are finally over we look forward to welcoming the first sunny days as we can’t deny that the sun has an effect on our wellbeing. For instance, we need a moderate degree of UV exposure for the production of Vitamin D which is essential for bone health. But the key word here is moderate as overexposure to UV has been demonstrated in many scientific studies to be harmful. Luckily, clothing is considered one of the most important tools for sun protection.
People who work all or part of the day outdoors are at risk of exposure to solar UVR. All skin types can be damaged and unfortunately, damage is permanent and increases with each exposure. Therefore it is important to take a few simple but effective protective measures in your daily (work) life to prevent sun-related diseases and injuries.
As clothing is one of the most effective barriers between skin and sun, providing workers with correct PPE, like sun protective work clothing, is an effective control measure the employer can take when it is not possible for workers to stay out of the sun.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor : higher is better
Nevertheless, not every fabric offers sufficient protection to ultraviolet exposure. To comply to the European Standard EN 13758-2, the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) needs to be at least 40 (the higher the rating the better the protection from solar UV). The UPF is a measure for how effective a material is at blocking solar UVR. Sioen developed several shirts, polo shirts and t-shirts which comply to EN 13758-2 and which have a UPF of at least 50.
Sioen’s latest addition to its protective clothing range with solar UV protection is the Casbas. This is a polo shirt with long sleeves so the entire upper body is protected from the sun. The special cross section of the fibres of the polo shirt create air pockets for quick moisture absorption and transport.
When choosing the protective clothing, you should also take into account the type of work. The garment should for instance balance sun protection with the need to stay cool in hot conditions. In the heat it is important that garments carry perspiration away from the body to help the body stay cool. Also take into account the design of the garment so that, for example, loose clothing doesn’t get caught in machinery.
As an employer it also is important that you are aware of ‘invisible’ risks like solar UV and that you protect your employees from these health risks as well by choosing the appropriate protective clothing.