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UV Rays of The Winter Sun Pose Hidden Skin Cancer Hazards

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

If you are a construction worker who spends time outdoors while earning your living in the harsh Pennsylvania winter, you might not realize that even the rays of the winter sun could cause skin cancer. Although the weather is warmer in the summer, and you can feel the sun burning on your skin, the hazard remains throughout all seasons. The fact that you spend more time layering enough clothes to keep warm in the cold should not prevent you from wearing an essential item of personal protective equipment — sunscreen.

It is a myth that the rays of the sun are harmless in the winter. When the earth tilts away from the sun in the winter, the wavelengths of UV rays are slightly shorter than in the summer, but it does not remove the danger they pose. If you do your job at a high altitude, you will be at a higher risk.

What Do You Know About Windburn?

Have you ever developed chapping and redness of your skin after working in cold and windy winter weather? Although most people refer to that condition as windburn, it is a misconception because the wind has nothing to do with it. The fact that it is the sun’s UV rays that do the damage was proved way back in 1936. Tests in a wind tunnel without UV presence caused no more than goosebumps.

The results of the experiment indicated that although you do not feel the penetration of the UV rays on your skin, clouds do not block them, and they continue to cause sunburn. In fact, your skin might be even more vulnerable during the winter months because dryness removes the protective layer. The frequent application of sunscreen can provide moisture, replace the barrier and prevent sunburn.

Hazardous Reflection

Did you know that the reflection of the snow is actually a reflection of the sun? Both ice and snow reflections can cause UV radiation damage to your eyes and your skin. According to the World Health Organization, up to 80 percent of snow reflection can be UV radiation. You might only feel the sting in your eyes, and you will likely not work without wearing UV-protective sunglasses, but the rays can also damage your skin.

Skin Cancer

Have you developed skin cancer after many years of working on construction sites without protection against the UV rays of the winter sun? You will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to assist with the financial consequences. However, proving your cancer to be work-related might be a challenging task. This is where the skills of an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney come in. A lawyer who knows how to deal with more than construction accident-related claims can be an invaluable asset to assist with your benefits claims.