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Heat stress in the work place and how to handle it

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Heat stress in the work place and how to handle it

Summer is here and we have been experiencing glorious sunshine and high temperatures daily!

Although as lovely as our weather is, and I’m sure not many are complaining, the heat may not be so nice for some, particularly those who work within the Construction or Manufacturing industries. Global warming is impacting our climate causing UK and Irish summers to be harder to bear and it appears to be negatively impacting working environments for many people. In the UK, whilst there is a legal minimum working temperature, there is no law in place for a maximum temperature considered as safe to work in because every working environment is different. This poses a concern to the health and safety conditions of the workplace.

For those working within Construction or Manufacturing, the rising temperature outside is increasing the risk of accident or injury. Workers are at a higher risk of exhaustion, dehydration and fatigue which can, thus, impact how they work and the likelihood of an incident occurring. Perhaps it is time that risk controls are updated in order to adapt to the climate change situation and take action against any associated risks.

There are situations which are unavoidable, such as PPE gear and heat being emitted from machinery, however, there are a few changes that can be made to prepare for the heat and keep yourself and your colleagues safe:

·         Cool drinking water available on sites

·         Regular breaks in provided shaded areas

·         Alternative working hours, if possible, to avoid the hottest hours

·         Monitor temperature throughout the day

·         Open windows or provide air conditioning within factories and wherever possible

·         Educate employees on understanding how to manage in increased temperatures

·         Provide sun cream and ice lollies!​