Building a Safe Skin Work Culture
“Cut!” the director yelled. “There is something over on the steps.” And with that, a tube of sunscreen was removed from the set. It was supposed to be 1883, but somehow SPF50 sun block was innocently left on the entry way to a brownstone apartment by a makeup artist serving the cast and crew.
This is my life
This is life on the show that I have been working on. The backlot is a place where you will see horses, carriages, women in lavish dresses with bustles, men in top hats, and bottles of sunscreen. We shoot exterior scenes for hours at a time, all day, and the production has prioritized the care of its employees.
They insisted that I wear sunscreen
I should have known this when I went through hair and make up the first time. I was asked if I would like sunscreen, and, inn fact, they nearly insisted. They applied a sheer, light weight lotion that was both effective and comfortable. They sprayed my scalp in the event that I would be asked to take off my hat. I felt cared for.
They even reapplied
A team of folks walked around all day reapplying sun screen. There were two large cranes that hoisted huge rectangular sun blocks over our heads and we were instructed to sit under their shade in between takes and set ups. I asked a makeup person about this, and she told me that this was their policy.
They wanted to protect us
It was the intention of my employer to do everything in their power to protect my skin while producing an amazing show. This got me to thinking: What if every company did this? What if every business or organization prioritized skin care? What might this look like?
Here is what I learned
In order to build a safe skin work culture, these have to happen:
First, there has to be a commitment from management to protect its employees. This commitment needs to permeate the business or organization, and must be reflected in its policies and training.
This must include implementing preventative measures, such as offering free sunscreen, shade, breaks, and sun protective clothing for employees when possible.
This should include training in safe skin care practices in all onboarding classes and seminars.
This must include offering regular, free, skin cancer screening for all employees as part of an overall, comprehensive health care plan.
This should include adequate time-off and job related accommodations for those who have biopsies and surgeries.
Companies should incorporate a health and wellness supervisor or team as part of their overall support and development of their work staff. This would ensure accountability and compliance.
It makes sense on so many levels to protect employees from skin cancer. Sure, these recommendations would cost money, but they would save overall with fewer lost workdays, overall better employee health and productivity, and good company morale knowing that workers are cared for. Why wouldn’t you want to incorporate these in your organization or business?
What are your ideas? How could businesses, organization, clubs, nonprofits, and more do a better job in supporting us?
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