Winter Sun Safety

When faced with a hot, sunny day at the beach, most of us recognize the need for sunglasses and sunscreen. When faced with the same kind of day at work, most workers also recognize they need protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

But what about winter sun safety? How many people consider winter sun to be harmful?Unfortunately, few take precautions necessary to ensure their protection from the winter sun.

Like sunshine in the summer, winter sunshine contains two types of radiation that are dangerous to you: ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B. You require protection from both. Here are some tips that will protect you from the winter sun’s radiation.

When it comes to your eyes, the winter sun can be blinding – literally. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can damage the retina which contains photo-sensitive cells in the back of the eye that allow you to see.

Winter sun reflecting off snow is more blinding than summer sun reflecting off water. If bright enough, it can easily cause a temporary, but very painful condition called snow blindness. Snow blindness occurs when the surface of the eye is sunburned. Other types of eye damage have been linked to overexposure such as growths, cancers, and cataracts.

Dark lenses alone do not ensure protection from the sun. You need to protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation, not just the sun’s brightness. If the lenses are extremely dark, but lack proper protection, this will cause even more damage. The damage occurs when the pupils of your eyes open wider to accept more light and allow more harmful rays to reach the retina.

Did you realize that a wide-brimmed hat can cut in half the amount of UV radiation that reaches your eyes? There is also special protective clothing available that will filter out all of the sun’s harmful rays.

Just like the summer sun, overexposure to winter sunlight will give you a sunburn. Sunscreen will filter out the harmful rays and allow you to work in the sun without threat of sunburn. A sunscreen with a SPF rating of 15 or higher should be suitable for most skin types.

It’s just as important to protect yourself from the winter sun as it is when you are headed to the beach. Protecting your eyes and skin will ensure that you don’t cause long-term damage or time off work. Best of all, it will allow you to enjoy your time in the sun.

Disclaimer: The information and suggestions contained in these safety talks are believed to be reliable. However, the authors of the topics and the owners of this web site accept no legal responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency, or completeness of such information or suggestions contained within these topics. These guidelines do not supercede local, state, or federal regulations and must not be construed as a substitute for, or legal interpretation of, any OSHA regulations.