Summer risk assessment: Top things to consider
Posted on 10th Jun, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
While our British summers aren’t known for being the sunniest or warmest in the world, the recent heatwave has shown just how difficult working outside in summer can be. With health and safety risks including heat exhaustion, sunburn, and dehydration, it’s always important to assess your working environment to prevent heat-related illness.
Temperature, heat & humidity
Excessive heat and temperatures can leave workers feeling faint and lead to heat stroke, which in severe cases can result in death. Each year, thousands of workers suffer from heat exhaustion after working hard in unsuitable, hot weather conditions. The TUC advise that the maximum temperature for indoor work should be 30 degrees Celsius or 27 degrees where work is strenuous. If the temperature exceeds this outside, you should avoid working during this time.
- Try and schedule your work for cooler periods in the day, where possible, for example – early morning and early evening
- Take regular breaks and avoid midday sun
- Avoid working in direct sunlight, if possible, in favour of working in shady areas
- Make sure you stay hydrated – keeping a 2l bottle of water with you at all times
While many of us much prefer working in the sun than in the rain, sunlight does carry its fair share of dangers. When working in long periods of exposure to sunlight, you put yourself at risk of sunburn, blistering and even skin cancer. In fact, there are over 50,000 new cases of skin cancer each year.
- Make sure you apply a good SPF suncream and reapply throughout the day
- Avoid working during midday heat, when the sun’s rays are strongest
- Cover up where possible, wearing lightweight clothing and protective eyewear
Modifying work for summer
When faced with hot weather conditions, it’s always worth modifying your work schedule. As an employer you should think about:
- Rescheduling all non-essential outdoor work during hot weather periods
- Scheduling the most strenuous work for early mornings or evenings, when temperatures are cooler
- Ensuring you have enough staff to cover the job – ideally rotating staff where possible
- Promoting proper health and safety at work and encouraging workers to take sheltered breaks, away from the sun, no matter how busy work may be
- Offering free cold water at work to encourage your employees to stay hydrated through the day
Top training courses for summer
For those of you bound to be working outdoors this summer, it might be worth improving your knowledge of health, safety, and wellness in the workplace. While we offer plenty of courses tailored to different types of jobs and access equipment use, we also offer First Aid training, which will be invaluable come summer.
For those short on time, choose our 1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work Course, which covers all the basics you need. If you’re looking for a more detailed offering, our 3 Day First Aid at Work Course ensures you’ll have all the required knowledge and skills to become a competent first aider.
For more information on either course, contact the team on 01282 615517.