It’s that time of year again.
The long (almost never ending!) winter is becoming a distant memory as we brush off the BBQ and soak up the rays. Summer is here but while it lifts everyone’s spirits, extra precautions should be taken for outdoor workers.
Many of us are envious of those who work outside in this weather, however, there are some basic safety tips that employees and employers should follow to keep everyone safe over the summer months.
What is Most at Risk?
Everyone is at risk of sunburn, heat stress or even skin cancer in the long run.
That being said, those who have fair skin, freckles, red or fair hair and workers with a large number of moles are more at risk of developing skin conditions due to prolonged sun exposure.
So, what can you do to stay safe while working outside in the sun?
Apply Sun Cream!
It sounds obvious but how many times have you been out in the sun and forgot to put sun cream on? Probably quite a few.
While a slight sunburn shouldn’t cause any long-term effects, regularly working outdoors without sun cream will.
Make sure you apply a high factor sun cream suited to your skin and encourage those around you to do the same. There are thousands of new cases of skin cancer in the UK every year and many of these are preventable.
Make Sure There is a Shade for Breaks
We encourage everyone to take their breaks at work and in the UK you are legally entitled to an uninterrupted 20-minute break if you work for 6 hours or more per day.
When you have staff that work outdoors in the sun make sure there is a shaded area to cool down in. This will help body temperatures decrease and it gives a respite from the glaring heat.
Many organisations have free cold water as well which will help keep everyone hydrated and it will boost morale too.
Educate Workers on Heat Stress
Lastly, staying safe while working outdoors in the sun is as much about educating workers as it is introducing certain measures to keep them protected.
As an employer, you can only do so much, however, creating a culture where staff are informed on the risks of being in direct sunlight for most of the day and what to do in order to stay safe will greatly increase workplace well-being.
Staying Safe in the Sun
Working outdoors can be great in certain parts of the year however it is important to take precautionary measures.
Even working outdoors for a few hours in direct sunlight without high factor sun cream, access to drinking water and a shaded area to cool off it can result in serious health problems in the long term. Even in the short-term things such as sunburn and heat stroke can potentially be very dangerous.
The HSE has some great advice for staying safe in the sun and following these basic tips can have a big impact on your overall health.