While a Great British summer doesn’t typically last long, we’ve already experienced temperatures of over 30C during 2017 so far and we are being told to expect another heatwave this August. So, how can you protect your employees or co-workers this summer? Here’s 13 summer safety tips for the workplace!
Sure, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and shorts will be cooler than wearing your usual suit-and-tie outfit, but are you really protecting yourself from the glaring sun? Not only that, are you protected from the various dangers found in the workplace?
It’s important to wear PPE in some industries, but does your company have any lighter or more weather-appropriate workwear? It’s worth checking.
Wear light colours.
It’s a classic, but lightly-coloured clothing doesn’t absorb the sun as much as darker tones do. So, put your black shirt down and pick up a white one – you won’t regret it.
Sunglasses make a great fashion accessory, but their purpose is far more important than that. You should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays – if you don’t then health problems such as cataracts become a real risk. UV damage can take place after just 15 minutes in extreme weather.
Nothing’s worse than not letting your skin breathe and being uncomfortable, and these two nuisances can both spawn from wearing tight clothing on a hot summer’s day. Wear something loose to allow the air to flow and help you remain cool.
Drink water. Lots of water.
It’s not good working in the sun if you’re not going to give your body the hydration it requires. Be sure to drink plenty of water whilst avoiding sugary drinks and energy drinks wherever possible, as they speed up the dehydration process.
Keep your food cool.
Food that has gone-off can pose a health risk. Storing your dinner and snacks in a cool, concealed place will keep them fresh and ready to be eaten when you have a well-deserved break. Food poisoning is common during summertime.
One of the most important tips we can offer involves the use of sunscreen. It’s vital that you protect your skin from the damage of UV rays – skin damage can have serious, lasting effects which can be avoided at small cost and effort.
Staff need to be given the opportunity to acclimatise to the unusual temperature they’re working in, especially if their job is physical in nature and/or predominantly outdoors. Each worker should be eased into outside work and allowed appropriate rest breaks.
Time your work.
Weather forecasts are incredibly accurate so why not use this information to your advantage? Schedule your more strenuous work around the cooler periods of the work day to make it a little more manageable (and a lot safer).
Take a break.
Whether you sit in front of a computer screen or work in a warehouse, it’s recommended that you take regular breaks. However, it’s even more important for manual workers – especially those who work outdoors – to take a break from the scorching sun. Find some shade, take a few minutes to yourself, and have a drink of water.
Make use of air conditioning.
Sitting in an office all day is bad for you as it is – exercise deprivation, staring at a screen, and so on – but sitting in an office during a heatwave? What a nightmare. Ensure you use air conditioning units in the office wherever they’re available, and an electric fan where they’re not.
If you’re out and about in a works vehicle, we’d recommend opening a window or two – though air conditioning will work wonders too.
It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure there are enough trained first aiders in the workplace at all times. This is very important when we have extremely hot weather too as a whole host of illnesses and ailments can occur: whether it’s sunstroke, bug bites, or a heat-related illness. It’s imperative that there’s a first aider at hand to help.
Having a well-stocked first aid kit is a must, and here at Fire and Safety Centre this is something we can help with. Check out our great range of first aid kits!
Have allergies? Bring tablets.
Pollen count is at its highest during warm and humid weather, so naturally those with hay fever suffer the most between March and September. Feeling ill and under the weather can drastically affect your performance at work, so it’s best to be prepared by taking prescription tablets at a responsible rate.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to look after yourself and your co-workers in summer heatwaves – and they’re all relatively easy to put into action. Be proactive this summer and make sure your workplace is a safe one!
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