We all might think that working outdoors is ideal in the hot temperatures but there are a lot of dangers and hazards that come with the nice weather. Xamax tell you everything you need to know about how to keep your team safe when working out outside in the heat
There’s nothing worse than being stuck indoors at work when it’s gloriously sunny outside, is there? While we all might think that working outdoors would be perfect in the hot temperatures, there are dangers that need to be considered. It’s important that you protect your construction site staff, they’re your most valuable commodity and without them, you wouldn’t be able to get the job done.
The dangers of working outdoors in hot weather
Your team will tell you that working in the sun is better than working outdoors in the cold and rain. But with the warmer temperatures come various risks. The sun can be very harmful if you’re not protected properly or educated on the dangers that it poses.
When it’s nice outside you can almost guarantee that you’ll see a workman with no shirt on topping up their tan. As soon as the sun breaks through the clouds it’s more or less off. But, too much exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer and most cases are a direct result of UV radiation.
UV radiation poses one of the largest threats to construction workers when the weather is nice. Aside from skin cancer, it can also lead to macular degeneration (a medical condition which can result in blurred or no vision) and Pterygium (a cancerous growth that can obstruct vision).
Health and safety at work should be your main priority, you can’t afford to cut corners and put your team’s lives at risk. There are various ways of protecting your team, these include:
- Switch up the work schedule
- Take breaks
- Be aware of the environment
- PPE and educate on its importance
Switch up the work schedule
If the job you’re carrying out is flexible enough to allow it, try and work your outdoor shifts when the UV rays from the sun are at their weakest. The sun is usually at its highest point between 10am-4pm and the rays are strongest between 1pm-3pm. So, in this case you’d like to work indoors at these times.
Breaks must be scheduled regularly. Physical labour in the warmer weathers can be pretty gruelling. Being on your feet all day will soon take its toll on you. It’s important that your staff allow enough time for rest and rehydration. This will help boost morale and overall productivity, ensuring that your entire team is working as efficiently as possible.
Be aware of the environment
Glass, water, concrete and sand all reflect heat and UV rays and can therefore intensify a workers’ exposure. When working around these reflective materials you should be more considerate of the effect it will have on you and your construction team’s health.
In preparation for all different conditions, keep the drinking water, sun cream and rest breaks close by.
Provide PPE and educate your employees on its importance
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is absolutely vital when it comes to protecting your team on-site when working in the sun. Construction site workers are usually the first to get cracking on topping up their tans, but it’s not safe for them to do so.
Construction site workers in summer should be wearing lightweight long sleeves and long pants to minimise their skin exposure. These should also be in darker colours too, as they’re better at blocking the sun out than lighter shades.
As well as providing PPE, you need to make sure that your employees know just how crucial it is to their safety. Provide additional information on how they can protect themselves accordingly.
Sun cream should be provided for your construction site team with a minimum factor of 15 to protect them. Also, encourage them to reapply every two hours because it’ll wash off with the sweat of carrying out their physical duties.