Does Skin-Cancer Disproportionately Affect Blue-Collar Workers?
Many jobs require employees to work outdoors. Even with all of their protective gear, they are still at risk of getting skin cancer. Statistically, blue-collar workers are more likely to get skin cancer than employees with jobs indoors. Since they have lower salaries than white-collar workers, they may not be able to afford a physician. This means that any signs of skin cancer can’t be detected and, therefore, fixed before it gets worse. Here is a list of blue-collar workers that are at the most risk of receiving skin cancer.
Construction is a type of career that already comes with a plethora of hazards. The sun, unfortunately, is one of them. Many construction workers have no choice but to work out in the sun. This is one of the reasons they always cover themselves head to toe, no matter how hot it is. Multiple strategies can be utilized to help reduce skin damage. For example, any equipment can be stored in a shaded place. This is why you see many construction crews work early in the morning. Construction workers are more focused on hazards like potential explosions, electrocution, cave-ins, and other immediately life-threatening dangers. Skin cancer isn’t immediate. Since it’s a long-term issue, too many workers put it off.
Farmers spend all day in the sun. As such, they are at high risk of getting skin cancer, at least in Australia. Regardless of the location, anyone who spends time outside as much as farmers do without protection is very likely to get skin cancer. There are a lot of tactics farmers resort to protect against the sun, such as sunscreen or tractor canopies. While tractor canopies can help, there is no guaranteed protection from the sun. The longer a farmer spends outdoors, the greater the risk they have of getting skin cancer. There are three major types of skin cancer: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Basal and squamous are the most common types of skin cancer and can be fully treated if discovered early. Melanoma, though the rarest of the three, is also the most dangerous.
It’s easy to think that miners are safe because they work underground or in caves. However, plenty of mining jobs require their employees to work outside. This is especially apparent in Australia. Since this country is bathed in sunlight often due to being right below the equator, anyone working outdoors there has high risks of getting skin cancer. Miners can get skin cancer from other factors outside of the sun due to the environment they work in. Most of them are caused by the UV rays of the sun, however.
Pilots spend most of the time flying aircraft during their occupation. Since they’re inside an air vehicle, that must mean that they work indoors. Well, working indoors can still lead to overexposure to sunlight. For pilots, in particular, they are constantly in front of a giant window above the clouds. This means that not even rainy days could give their skin a break. A lot of pilots also fly planes in tropical areas, further increasing their risks for skin cancer. It’s important to mention that flight attendants are also at serious risk of skin cancer from their occupation.
You may instinctively think this occupation is endearing after seeing Mary Poppins. However, this is yet another job that requires its workers to be outside often. Chimney sweeping was considered a low-tier job. Due to the lack of respect for this job, not many paid attention to how dangerous this occupation could be. Nowadays, chimney sweeping has more precautions and safety protocols for operation. Unfortunately, it’s still an occupation that comes with a high risk of getting skin cancer.
Commercial fishing is mostly, if not exclusively, done outdoors. Even though they are at high risk of skin cancer, many anglers don’t go to the doctor. This is due to the popular belief within the community that skin cancer isn’t as bad or as common as they think. One of the best ways of prevention is education. Even so, the low salary of anglers can’t easily afford medical professionals. As a result, anglers of many years end up going to the doctor later in life because of their newly-discovered skin cancer. Some moves are being made to help educate anglers of the dangers of skin cancer as well as how important it is to try to prevent it.
Landscaping and Groundskeeping
These blue-collar jobs are similar, but also distinct. Specifically, landscaping requires the stylizing of one’s outdoor property. Groundskeeping is more about maintaining a client’s outdoor property. There is one thing both have in common, and that’s spending time in the sun. Though they have a higher risk of getting skin cancer than an office worker, the risk isn’t as bad as the previously mentioned occupations. This is because there aren’t as many other risks in these occupations as the others. Therefore, the risk of skin cancer isn’t ignored and is better prepared for.
Oil and Gas Workers
Offshore oil workers do their jobs in all kinds of rough weather conditions. Scorching sunlight is no exception. Oil rigs are pretty amazing structures of human feat. These are practically cities on top of the water. That’s why harsh weather conditions are ranging from unforgiving sunlight to terrifying hurricanes. No matter what the other risks are for working on an oil rig, the workers and their employers shouldn’t forget about the possibilities of getting skin cancer.
Most occupations that require people to work outdoors are blue-collar jobs. In combination with lower salaries, employees of these types of jobs have a higher risk of cancer than their white-collar employers. It’s all too easy to ignore the possibility of skin cancer because of the other greater risks that come with those dangerous occupations. A good way to help prevent this is through education and safety equipment. Also, employers should make sure their employees get an annual checkup with a dermatologist. There are plenty of strategies and tactics out there that workers can use to protect their skin.