Health & Safety Consultants

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Health & Safety Consultants

Working Outside in Hot and Sunny Conditions

Working Outside in Hot and Sunny Conditions

As Summer approaches and reflecting on the record temperatures that we experienced in the UK last year that exceeded 40°C, it’s time to consider the risks of working outside in hot and sunny conditions.

Some may see this rise in temperature as just a seasonal irritation over which they have no control and as such do nothing about looking into control measures. Here at ST safety Services, we believe that all workers have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment and explore simple measures that can be taken in this blog.

The effects of the weather can potentially have a serious impact on your health or your employee’s health. Risks should be considered and properly managed. The impacts on the person could be immediate or they may occur over time.

Working in excessive heat is not only uncomfortable but can be dangerous and in extreme cases fatal. This type of work can lead to an increase in accidents and injuries.

Working outside in hot and sunny conditions can influence an individual’s effectiveness. In these circumstances some of the best ways of managing the risk are to introduce some simple controls.

Working in hot weather:

When outdoor working in hot weather, you should always try to:

  • reschedule work to cooler times of the day,
  • provide more frequent rest breaks and introduce shading to rest areas,
  • provide free access to cool drinking water,
  • introduce shading to areas where individuals are working,
  • educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of heat stress.

Working in sunny conditions:

Too much sunlight is harmful to your skin. It can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering and skin ageing and in the long term can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.

This type of cancer is one of the most common forms in the UK with over 50,000 new cases every year. A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.

Who is at risk?

If work keeps you outdoors for a long time your skin could be exposed to more sun than is healthy for you. You should take particular care if you have:

  • fair or freckled skin that doesn’t tan or goes red or burns before it tans,
  • red or fair hair and light-coloured eyes,
  • and/or a large number of moles.

What can you do to protect yourself?

When working in the heat, it’s important to take note of the following to minimise your personal risk:

  • Keep covered up with clothing – Keep your top on,
  • Wear a hat with a brim or a flap that covers the ears and the back of the neck,
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, during your breaks and especially at lunch time,
  • Use a high factor sunscreen of at least SPF15 (UVB protection) and high star rating of 4 or 5 stars (UVA protection) on any exposed skin,
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration,
  • Check your skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots. See a doctor promptly if you find anything that is changing in shape, size or colour, itching or bleeding.

The HSE has a free to download leaflet called Keep Your Top On - Click Here to view. We hope that you found this blog to be useful and remember that working in hot conditions is not limited to working outside. If you would like any help or further information on what control measures you could consider within your business, Contact Us.