The amount of time spent outside means that outdoor workers, such as roofers and bricklayers, are at greater risk of skin damage from UV rays, including premature ageing and skin cancer. In fact, as well as being the cause of 83% of skin cancer cases, research has found that UV exposure is responsible for a staggering 80% of the visible signs of ageing on the face, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Over many years, it can also lead to pigmentation, reduced skin elasticity and a degradation of skin texture. With just a 2% increase in skin damage potentially ageing a face by three years and you only have to look at the picture of the man in this article to see the impact that years of sun exposure can have.
As well as ageing the skin around the eyes, long-term exposure to the sun's invisible ultraviolet light is a leading cause of cataracts, skin cancer around the eyes and blindness. It also causes more immediate problems, such as headaches, eye fatigue, redness, dryness, and irritation.
Gary Walpole, safety, health and environment officer at the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, says:
“UV light is one of the many hazards that can damage your eyesight, so it is important that you wear protection. A roofer, or other construction worker, wearing safety sunglasses will not only protect their eyes from harmful UV rays, they will also feel more comfortable when working in bright conditions as the glasses will reduce disruptive reflections (glass, light coloured roofing membranes etc.) Safety sunglasses with UV 400 protection and the relevant British Standards kitemark or CE mark, can help vision be significantly safer and more pleasant in sunny and bright conditions.”