Many people have noticed that our English summers are getting hotter each year. With this increased heat, there are dangers, especially for those who work outdoors. Even on overcast days, the sun can still cause burns and thermal discomfort. This hot weather may make your workers sweat or wear less. However, these are not always the safest choices.
There are many ways an individual can feel hot or cold other than the air temperature. Heat can radiate from nearby objects such as pipes and/or machinery. If there is no air movement and/or ventilation, this too can make your employees feel warmer. Also, an increase in humidity, warm clothing, and the rate of work can affect this.
According to The World Health Organization reports, most workers feel uncomfortable at temperatures above 24℃. As a result, when you consider workplace safety, you need to note the outside temperature and plan accordingly.
Also, you need to listen to your employees. If they say they are too hot, change the work they are doing. Allow breaks and make sure everyone understands the risks of the sun and to stay hydrated. Here, you will find advice on what PPE you need to keep cool during the warmer months.
The PPE at Work Regulations requires employers to consider work environments. An example of this would be the weather. All the protective clothing you provide for your workers needs to protect them against the elements .
Summer PPE should be designed to keep workers as cool as possible. Workers cannot wear the cheapest available option. All PPE needs to be provided by employers free to employees.
Working hours should be adapted and altered to minimise sun and heat exposure.
Employers should shorten outside work during the hottest part of the day and provide shade. There should be frequent rest periods in a cool, shaded place and cool, clean water to replenish the system.
You should encourage workers to remove PPE when they are not working to encourage heat loss, dry off sweat from equipment and clothing, and cool down.
If you work on scaffolding, you need to consider covering the scaffolding sites. This is a great way to provide shade for you and your team. Also, you workers can use fans where appropriate even in outdoor work.
Educate all workers on recognising the signs of heat stress.
• If you need a hard hat, cover your neck with loose UV resistant cloth to reduce the risk of burns.
• Place sun cream on your neck and ears to protect from burns.
• If you are not wearing a hard hat, make sure you wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap to cover your face from the sun and apply sun cream.
• Wear long-sleeves when it is possible (and not too hot) since long-sleeves provide the most sun protection, especially if the material is UV-protected.
• Fabric should be close-knit, as burns can occur through fabric.
• Summer comes with pesky insects, so long-sleeves will protect from bites and stings.
• Long pants may also protect from stings, cuts, and grazes as well as providing sun protection.
• Shorts may feel cooler, but come with other dangers. If you wear shorts, lather up the sunscreen.
• Apply sun cream every 2-3 hours.
• The Sun Protection Factor should be at least 15 to 30.
• Safety glasses with tinted lenses
• No matter how strong the sun is, it is not good for your eyes to look into the sun.
• Make sure that you wear sunglasses or safety glasses with tinted lenses to protect your eyesight.
• Lighter coloured clothing offers better protection than darker clothing.
• Wear light clothes in cool, close-knit, UV protected fabrics where possible.
• There are summer options for hi-vis.
• Some fabrics have sweat wicking properties and UV protection like this hi-vis polo.
To keep cool, it is important for you and your employees to limit your sun exposure. As a result, you can do this by scheduling frequent breaks, providing water, and paying attention to the clothes you and your workers are wearing in the heat. Overheating can cause the body to go into shock and experience heat stress and heat stroke. Educate all of your workers on how to recognise these signs and how to keep everyone safe and cool each summer.