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Cultivating Safety: 5 Essential Tips to Protect Farmers Against Skin Cancer

Due to the nature of their jobs, farmers and agricultural workers have a higher risk of getting skin cancer from working outdoors and getting exposed to the harmful UV rays of the sun for extended periods. Studies have shown that farmers have 6 to 8 times longer exposure to the sun as compared to indoor workers, and generally work even during the time of the day where the sun is at its hottest and brightest. This exponentially increases their probability of getting skin cancer, as well as other health conditions such as sunburn, heat stress, and even dehydration — all of which can cause a lot of discomfort and can be expensive to treat. As such, farmers need to take note of the following tips to help prevent skin cancer as well as any other occupational illnesses due to their prolonged sun exposure:

#1 Use Sunscreen and Re-Apply Regularly

Using sunscreen with SPF 50 can provide maximum protection against harmful UV rays when working in the field, so every farm needs to be well-stocked with sunscreen for every worker to use. However, it’s also important to note the delay between application and its effect — it takes around 20-30 minutes for sunscreen to take effect after being applied. One of the most common mistakes farmers (and arguably everyone that uses sunscreen) is applying it on their face, neck, and exposed skin right before they expose themselves to the sun, which results in 20-30 minutes of having your skin vulnerable to UV rays. It’s also vital to re-apply sunscreen every two hours or less, especially if you get sweaty from working in the field.

#2 Take Frequent Breaks Under a Shade

As much as possible, you’d want to avoid continuous exposure to the sun, so make sure that you take breaks frequently and cool off under a shaded area. If you’re working in a wide farm, try to find a spot under a tree or at a barn or shed where you can take refuge, stretch, drink water, and re-apply sunscreen. Frequent or regular breaks also lower the risk of musculoskeletal disorders due to overexertion, repetitive motion, or staying in a single position/posture for too long. farmer

#3 Smart Clothing

Farmers should wear (or be provided with) wide brim hats and sunglasses to prevent facial sunburn and skin cancer, and also help keep themselves cool while protecting their eyes from glare. Even with sunscreen on, it’s still recommended to breathable pants, gloves, and long-sleeved shirts as an added level of protection. Lastly, it’s best to wear a light-coloured shirt to keep cool and help deflect heat and light (instead of absorbing them).

#4 Invest in Better Tools

You might be thinking of how better farming tools and equipment can prevent skin cancer. It’s simple, really: the better the tools, the more efficient farmers and agricultural workers do their tasks, which means that they can finish their jobs sooner and minimise their exposure to the sun. Consider purchasing farm vehicles for faster transport to cut sun exposure, and try looking for a 12-volt sprayer and other farm tools for sale that can make farm tasks faster, easier, safer, and more efficient.


Farming can be a very rewarding occupation and business, but the increased risk of skin cancer and other sun-exposure-related conditions make it hazardous. Luckily, with these simple tips, you can protect yourself (and other farmers) from skin cancer and improve your overall health and comfort when working in the field.
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