Glossary beginning with S

Click one of the letters above to go to the page of all terms beginning with that letter.


Safe job procedures search for term

Safe job procedures are procedures to be followed to perform a job or task safely.

Safe work practices search for term

Safe work practices are practices to be undertaken to perform a work activity in a safe way.

Safety talk search for term

A safety talk is a very short and informal talk in the workplace, often given by an employee, on an occupational health and safety topic. It has other names such as tailgate talk, toolbox talk, dock talk, or break talk. Sun safety issues may be the subject of a talk. Also see tailgate session.

Seasonality search for term

A sun safety program exhibits seasonality in the sense that there is a natural sequence of activities through the year. Personal protection used in July and August would often have to be ordered earlier in the year (refer to procurement). Training required under a sun safety program would also have to be scheduled prior to peak sun season.

Shade search for term

Where possible, workers should work in shade or take breaks in shade as this is an effective way of reducing solar UV exposure and controlling heat stress. Workplaces should therefore consider implementing ‘built’ shade, which includes permanent and temporary shade structures, as an engineering control, or having policies or procedures (considered to be administrative controls) which encourage workers to use ‘natural’ shade from trees as much as possible during work or breaks.

Site assessment search for term

Site assessment is a technique typically used by construction or utility crews to assess risk at a new work location. It is usually done by a supervisor and provides the basis for a safety talk. A site assessment from a sun safety program perspective could involve considering locations for shade and breeze, drinking water availability, and radiant heat sources that can add to heat stress from the sun.

Skin cancer search for term

Skin cancer is cancer of the skin. It is the most common form of cancer in the world, with 1 in 3 cancers being a skin cancer. It is the leading type of cancer in Canada, with the numbers increasing. No matter what your skin type, everyone is at risk of skin cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, particularly from the sun, is the primary cause of skin cancer. Outdoor workers are at a much greater risk of skin cancer than are indoor workers. The main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Most skin cancers (particularly the non-melanoma skin cancers) can be treated effectively if identified early. However, there are many deaths each year each year from skin cancer, with most of these from melanoma.

Skin type search for term

Skin type, also known as skin phototype, refers to someone’s natural skin color. The inside of your upper arm is a good indication of your natural skin type. There are six recognized skin types: I and II (Celtic), III and IV (Mediterranean), V (Asian), VI (Black). All skin types can get sunburnt (erythema), with the amount of sun exposure required ranging from 2 SED for skin types I and II up to 15 SED for skin type VI.1

  • 1.  International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. ICNIRP Statement – Protection of Workers Against Ultraviolet Radiation. Health Physics 2010; 99(1): 66-87.
Solar UV radiation search for term

The sun is the main source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Less than 10% of the sun’s emission is UV radiation. However, due to its short wavelengths and high energy, it is highly effective at causing damage to the skin and eyes. The shortest wavelengths (less than 280nm) are completely absorbed by the Earth’s ozone layer. 

Source search for term

The source is “an item or activity having a potential for a consequence”.1

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) search for term

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the second most common form of skin cancer in people. They arise from keratinocytes in the skin and are described as being a non-melanoma skin cancer. They tend to occur on parts of the body that receives lots of sun exposure, for example, the face, ears, scalp, and neck. Similar to basal cell carcinomas, they are often initially noticed as a skin sore that doesn’t heal. As they tend to grow rapidly. Early treatment is important and can be very effective.

Standard erythema dose (SED) search for term

Standard erythema dose is a standardized dose for exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. One 1 SED equals 100 J/m2 of ‘erythemal effective UV exposure’. See also minimal erythema dose (MED).

Substitution search for term

Substitution is the second most effective control measure in the hierarchy of risk controls. Substitution can eliminate or reduce the risk by substituting a safer process or material for the more hazardous process/material. 

Sun protection factor (SPF) search for term

Sun protection factor is a rating assigned to sunscreen to indicate the level of protection provided from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and specifically describes the effectiveness of a sunscreen in preventing sunburn. It is the ratio of UV dose a person would receive without sunscreen to the dose received wearing sunscreen. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen would result in a UV dose 30 times less than if sunscreen had not been used. However, sunscreens can be difficult to apply correctly and consistently to all exposed skin areas. They can be rubbed off or be impacted by water/sweat, and so the actual SPF of a sunscreen for the wearer will often be much lower than the protection level listed on the label.

Sun safety search for term

Sun safety is measures taken by a workplace to manage outdoor worker exposure to the sun. They help prevent: (1) adverse health effects, such as eye and skin conditions, from exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and (2) heat-induced conditions from heat stress associated with exposure to the sun in combination with the physical activity of outdoor work activities. For the purposes of our Model Sun Safety Program, sun safety does not include exposure to heat sources in the absence of the sun as a heat source. It does include heat sources that exist at the same time as sun as a heat source (for example, when doing roofing and road construction).

Sun safety policy search for term

A sun safety policy is a statement about the importance of sun safety to the workplace. It indicates commitment to the reduction of risk to workers from exposure to the sun. Other elements of a sun safety program carry out the intent of the sun safety policy. The workplace’s health and safety committee will be involved to varying degrees depending on the jurisdiction. It is a key element of the core step in the Model Sun Safety Program.

Sun safety program search for term

A sun safety program is considered to be an organizational element of an occupational health and safety management system and it is that element/component/program which is directed towards managing the risks to worker health associated with sun exposure within the workplace. Also see Model Sun Safety Program.

Sun safety risk assessment search for term

Sun safety risk assessment is an important technical element of a sun safety program. It refers to the process used to assess the health risks of worker exposure to the sun. For our Model Sun Safety Program, we recommend two separate risk assessment processes. One is for skin and eye conditions from exposure to solar UV radiation (such as sunburn, skin cancer, and photokeratitis), and the other is for heat stress from sun exposure. For each of these risk assessment processes, we recommend the following three steps: operational review, Job Safety Analysis, and daily assessment

Sun-induced condition search for term

Any injury or health condition which results from exposure to the sun. Also see heat stress, heat-induced conditions, photokeratitis, skin cancer and sunburn.

Sunburn search for term

Sunburn is an adverse acute health condition associated with over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation. When human skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, it causes cell injury and inflammation, along with repair processes to address the cell injury. The signs and symptoms of sunburn are red (erythema) and painful skin, and in severe cases fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, weakness and fainting. It is literally a burn of the skin. The severity of the symptoms increases with increasing exposure. Erythema can occur within 30 minutes or so, but for most people it starts between 2 and 6 hours after exposure. It is often the most painful between 6 and 48 hours after exposure. The burn continues to develop for a number of days, followed by pealing and itchiness for up to a week. Treatment includes applying cold compresses to the skin area along with products such as aloe vera and vitamin E to help reduce the inflammation. Rehydration with fluids and medication for pain relief may also be needed. The earlier treatment is started, the more effective the healing process. Sunburn is a significant risk factor for developing skin cancer. Also see erythema.

Sunscreen search for term

Sunscreen is a cream, lotion, spray or gel, that can be applied to the skin to reduce the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation penetrating the skin. There are two types of sunscreens. Inorganic/physical sunscreens reflect and scatter UV and visible radiation by providing an opaque barrier on the skin surface from a thin film of inert metal particles. Organic/chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV radiation. Also see broad spectrum sunscreen and water resistant sunscreen.

Supervisor search for term

A supervisor has the authority to direct another person’s work. Definitions vary among jurisdictions. A supervisor may be a person in charge of an area. We mean a front line supervisor rather than a manager. Normally a crew leader or a foreperson would be considered a supervisor. In some jurisdictions a supervisor will have a general duty to take all reasonable care.

Syncope search for term

See heat syncope.

Go to top