As the hot weather is due to continue this week, with temperatures for parts of England and Wales consistently in the high 20Cs and low 30Cs, here are some recommendations on working safely outdoors in the heat and sun.
Heatwaves can present a risk to workers, including heat stress and lapses in concentration, that can lead to accidents. Glare from the sun can make it difficult to see while operating machinery, and repeated sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer in people of all ages.
- Plan work to avoid being out in the sun at the hottest times (typically 11am – 3pm).
- Provide more frequent breaks, rest areas in the shade, and plenty of drinking water.
- Give staff information about spotting the early signs of heat stress. Early signs include: unable to concentrate; heat rash; fatigue, giddiness, muscle cramps. Late signs include: severe thirst, fainting and nausea. Specific information about signs of heatstroke and how to prevent it are on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/
- Encourage staff that work outdoors to keep tops on, wear sunglasses, and wear sunscreen (at least SPF15 and preferably waterproof).
- Encourage workers to check their skin for spots or moles that may have changed shape, and to seek medical advice if anything causes them concern.
Employees working outdoors
- Keep tops on. Light coloured, loose fitting clothing is best.
- Wear a hat with a brim that covers the back of your neck and ears.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Drink plenty of water and take breaks in the shade.
- Wear sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 15) and regularly re-apply.
- Regularly check your skin for any unusual (i.e. new, bleeding, itchy, etc.) spots or moles (or any that have changed shape). Contact your doctor if any of these cause you concern.
For support with protecting your employees all year round, contact us today.