Sweltering temperatures over the next few days have prompted the national Trade Union Council (TUC) to issue warnings to company bosses to ensure the protection of staff working outdoors that could be exposed to the sun and heat.
How to ensure staff safety during hot weather
A TUC report suggests staff are to take regular breaks and drinking water should be supplied.
Employers should also try and revise shift times in a bid to avoid being outside during the hottest periods of the day.
For example, undertaking outdoor work earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, rather than 11am to 3pm when temperatures are known to be at their highest.
The employment organisation suggests trying to introduce areas of shade to work sites – such as a canopy or covering.
If not appropriate for the working hours, then providing a covered spot for break times should be a necessary precaution.
Staff should also wear suncream and hats, and should be given advice on the need to protect themselves from the heat and UV rays.
Driving in hot weather
Even drivers can be at risk, the TUC warns, outlining potential dangers such as major fatigue from the high temperatures.
As well as putting themselves in danger, this also poses a risk to other people who could be injured in a collision.
The organisation says companies should provide air conditioning in all of its cars, vans and lorries, to enable drivers to stay cool in the baking hot weather.
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “We treat our farmyard animals better than some of our agricultural workers. At least animals get shelter and a supply of water in the heat.
“Working outdoors in sweltering conditions can be unbearable and dangerous and bosses must ensure their staff are protected as much as possible, with regular breaks, lots of fluids, plenty of sunscreen and the right protective clothing.”
Source: Health and Safety Practitioner
Date Published: September 6, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown