By Steve Leslie
Heat can be issue for pool-builders and is often overlooked. With all the technology and equipment available today, combined with an ever-growing demand of customers beckoning for one’s attention, pool builders often overlook their health. It is something that seems so subtle, but overall is vital to the success and progress a company makes each year. If ignored, one is likely to face severe consequences. Most industry professionals may not fully comprehend the severity of the subject and may choose to ignore it altogether.
A healthy body is the key to staying successful in any profession, especially in the pool and spa industry. Poor planning, improper diet, and over-stimulated workers are disadvantageous to a business. For example, when is an employee more liable to cause injury on a jobsite? Is it due to improper training or inadequate thinking? If a staff member is exhausted, filled with brain fog, and does not feel well, are they going to be beneficial to a company/customer or will they cause more harm than good? What happens when this employee is diagnosed with a serious health condition and suddenly decides to sue the company for it?
This article will take a closer look at some of the health issues that can result from working outdoors, such as skin cancer and heat-related illnesses, prevention of these diseases, and basic ways for workers to maintain proper nutrition throughout the busy months.
The effects of sun exposure
According to a Huffington Post article, nearly 13 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year; of these, approximately one in every three individuals is detected with a form of skin cancer. Non-melanoma cases have increased more than 77 per cent between 1994 and 2014, while instances of melanoma have gone up by 53 per cent between 2008 and 2018.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates cases of melanoma have been on the rise throughout the past couple decades due to the depleting ozone layer. This layer helps to block out ultraviolet (UV) rays such as UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. Although UV-C rays are the most harmful, they are completely blocked out by the ozone layer. However, its power to block out UV-A and UV-B rays continues to decrease each year, which can result in substantial damage to the body. There are many ways to defend one’s body against the harmful rays of the sun: UV-A rays can be resisted with items such as sunglasses, hats, and clothing while UV-B rays can be prevented with sunscreen and sunglasses.
Sunglasses protect the eyes against UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun. When buying these, one must look for labels tagged either ‘UV absorption up to 400 nm’ or ‘Meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) UV requirements’ to ensure the glasses resist 99 per cent of both types of UV rays. Second, if one is working outdoors and is not required to wear a helmet, a wide-brimmed hat is a good choice. The hat not only protects one’s head from the harmful UV rays, but also shields their face and neck. Third, many pool builders prefer to work shirtless in the hot summer sun as long as they use sunscreen; however, this can pose a dangerous health concern—although sunscreen is supposed to protect against UV-A and UV-B rays, only the latter can be measured with the sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF relates to the amount of time an individual needs to be exposed in the sun to have a minute’s worth of UV-B rays penetrate their skin. For example, SPF 30 means for every 30 minutes a person spends in the sun, UV-B rays will penetrate their skin for only one minute.