The very nature of the work we do means that we’re always at the mercy of the weather. As a professional organisation we take the threats posed by the elements very seriously, whether it be either hot or cold.
Hopefully the coming months will see temperatures begin to soar meaning that conditions are conducive to groundworks and work can be completed on budget and on time. But, it does mean that we have to effectively ensure that from a health and safety point of view, all bases are covered.
The advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states that:
When working outdoors the weather can have influence an individual’s effectiveness and this is not readily managed using just engineering controls. In these circumstances some of the most effective ways of managing these environments are to introduce some simple administrative controls for example:
- 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 in areas where individuals are working
- Encourage the removal of personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss
- Educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of heat stress
The HSE goes on to examine the dangers of working in the sun:
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. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer 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
- A large number of moles
From a company perspective, as much as we enjoy working in the sun, we take the dangers of such weather extremely seriously and further guidelines that we adhere to include:
- Drinking two to four cups of water every hour.
- Avoiding drinks with caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
- Wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
So, bring on the great English summer. May the days be long and hazy and may you be able to enjoy that new feature in your garden or driveway, secure in the knowledge of a job safely and very well done!