Employers Warned to Make Sure Outdoor Workers are Protected from the Sun and Heat

Working in heat

WITH TEMPERATURES now rising over the UK, employers are making sure their roofing operatives working outdoors are properly protected from the sun and the heat.

Roofers working outside in high temperatures are at risk of sunstroke, sunburn and even skin cancer.

Working in hot weather can also lead to dehydration, tiredness, muscle cramps, rashes, fainting, and – in the most severe cases – loss of consciousness.

Bosses are working with their health and safety staff to introduce the following measures to protect their employees who work outdoors when the temperatures rise:

  • Allow operatives to take frequent breaks and provide a supply of drinking water.
  • Review working times so that outside work is done in the morning and afternoon, rather than between 11am-3pm when temperatures are highest.
  • Provide canopies or covering over open areas on construction sites, and provide shaded areas for breaks.
  • Ensure that outdoor workers are supplied with sunscreen and are given advice on the need to protect themselves from the heat and sun.
  • Provide lightweight brimmed hats for all outdoor workers and make sure that any protective clothing is lightweight, long-sleeved and comfortable, but dense enough to prevent UV rays from getting through.
  • Provide information on avoiding exposure to harmful UV radiation, ensuring that advice is available in other languages when required.

Drivers in the Heat

Heat can also be a problem for workers whose job involves driving. This is dangerous as any driver suffering from fatigue is a major risk to both themselves and other people. Employers should provide cars, vans or lorries with air conditioning. If a driver is likely to be stuck in traffic for any length of time, avoid driving in very hot weather.

Dave McAllen, Site Supervisor said: “Working outdoors in sweltering conditions can be unbearable and dangerous. Bosses must ensure their teams are protected as much as possible, with regular breaks, lots of fluids, plenty of sunscreen and the right protective clothing.

Temperatures up to 300 centigrade are expected in parts of the UK this week and next. UV strength is very high, posing a risk of sunburn and long term risks of skin cancer. Roofers are advised to cover up with light clothing, particularly their top halves when outdoors.

>> Read more about working safely in the heat

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