From September to December, the sunrise fluctuates between 6.10am all the way to 8.06am as Britain transitions from Summer to Autumn to Winter - days are getting shorter and the available light is getting dimmer.
There are many hours outdoor workers may be shrouded in darkness or semi-darkness as they work, putting them in more danger of workplace accidents.
In fact, workers are more likely to have an accident in the low-light conditions of October and November than at any other time of year, which means employers have a duty to increase protection and awareness.
With falling leaves, rain, slippery ground, and more dangerous road conditions, it is important to keep yourself and your workers safe.
If your workers drive on site during sunrise and sunset, they may have sun in their eyes, which can cause obvious problems, but there are also issues with visibility, with passersby not seeing your employees as well as they can in summer months.
Your employees are in danger of slipping on wet leaves, or not having enough light to see what they are doing properly. Furthermore, with colder weather, workers are in danger of not wearing enough layers or getting too hot by wearing too much. In between weather factors cause problems overall, so it’s getting darker... is your team covered?
Here are 4 Autumn workwear and PPE essentials...
1: Hi-Visibility Clothing
Later sunrises and earlier sunsets means that low light is a serious issue during the average working day. Depending on where your workers operate, you may need to ensure they have adequate hi-vis protection.
It is advisable to provide hi-vis vests as a minimum precaution, but an even safer plan is to make hi-vis jackets and trousers part of essential protection as well.
This way, no matter the light level, your workers can be seen.
2: Multiple Layers
When the weather gets colder, it’s important your workers have layers. You need to make sure your workers have a thermal layer, a fleece layer (you can even embroider your company logo), a pair of decent lined trousers, and an outer, waterproof layer if needed.
If you went for a 3-in-1 Jacket, you could get the Waterproof outer with the Fleece inner in one garment.
Waterproofing is especially important as the autumn transitions to winter since, if your workers get wet, they can increase their risk of illness when combined with colder temperatures.
3: Warm Work Gloves
When working on-site, warm work gloves are one of the most important factors.
Colder weather often means clumsier fingers, and low-light means that workers may place their hands on sharp objects or edges without realising it, which is why work gloves are important to keep hands safe from harm at work.
Keeping warm hands also reduces the risks associated with VWF (Vibration White Finger) when operating vibrating equipment on site.
4: Warm & Water-Resistant Footwear
As the ground gets slippery, slip-resistant safety boots are paramount. You are looking for slip resistant footwear with a S3 rating.
Apart from slip resistance, you need warm and dry feet to remain happy in your work. The Footwear ratiings you are looking for are:
- CI -Cold Insulation
- WR - Water Resistance
- WRU - Water Penetration and Water Absorption Resistant Upper
Don't simply stick to those ratings as you may require further protection from specific hazards in your job.
A good pair of safety boots protects your worker’s ankles from harm, cushions their joints and feet, and corrects posture to reduce back injuries.
A good set of footwear is essential for productive and safe work and should not be skimped on.