This week the Met office warned that we were likely to face temperatures of over 37⁰C. In light of this, the Environmental Audit Select Committee published a report in July 2018 with a stark warning that in the next 30 years, heat-related deaths could treble unless action is taken.
At THSP Risk Management we work closely with the construction industry to ensure that all workers will be as safe as possible.
It is very difficult for the construction industry to relax dress codes to cope with the heat. PPE is there to protect individuals. It is not something that can be removed without the potential for serious consequences.
The dangers of working outside in the heat are all too apparent and can lead to heat stroke and other heat related problems. Heat stroke is a serious condition where the body is no longer able to control its temperature. This causes the body temperature to raise to dangerous levels within 10 to 15 minutes. Should emergency treatment not be provided, heat stroke can lead to permanent disability or death. Symptoms of heat stroke are:
- Dry, hot, reddish skin and lack of sweating
- High body temperature
- Strong, rapid pulse
- Slurred speech
Whilst we cannot change the working hours or regulations on workwear, THSP encourage all workers to be on the look-out for their workmates to ensure that they are not suffering in the heat.
The best ways to keep your team cool and hydrated in the hot weather is:
- Ensure they drink plenty of fluids – two to four cups of water every hour, not just when they are thirsty.
- Ensure they have drinks bottles.
- Discourage the consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks.
- Issue PPE that is lightweight, light coloured and loose fitting.
- Encourage your workers to slow down and know their limits to work safely.
- Assign extra workers for physically demanding outdoor jobs.
- Get workers to wear a sun hat or accessorise their hard hats to keep the sun off their faces and necks.
- Ensure rest periods and water breaks are in a shaded or air-conditioned area.
- Suggest use of damp rags to wipe faces or place around necks.
- Make sure people use sunscreen.
- Avoid or block out direct sun if possible.
If you would like to review your workplace safety, call us for a site inspection on 03456 122 144. We have plenty of sound advice.