There’s no denying we’re all enjoying this beautiful sunshine! But when it comes to working in this heat or even working outside in this heat, we need to ensure our colleagues and employees are working safely.
Working in the sun and hot weather poses serious risks to health. Make sure you’re working safely.
Even in the temperate climate of the UK, working in the sun and hot weather presents risks to your health, which are heightened for those who work outside. One of the most serious risks is skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world, with occupational UV exposure being an attributable factor in one death and five new cases of skin cancer per week in Britain.
There’s no law for maximum working temperature, or when it’s too hot to work, because every workplace is different.
No meaningful upper limit can be imposed because in many indoor workplaces high temperatures are not seasonal but created by work activity, for example in bakeries or foundries.
However, employers must stick to health and safety at work law, including:
What the law says
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations require employers to provide a reasonable indoor temperature in the workplace.
This depends on the work activity and the environmental conditions.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations require reasonable workplace temperatures for indoor areas of construction sites.
Where the site is outdoors, you must provide protection from adverse weather. Site rest facilities must also be maintained at an appropriate temperature.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, employers must:
Temperature in the workplace is one of the risks you should assess, whether the work is being done indoors or outdoors. You should consult with workers or their representatives on the best ways to cope with high or low temperatures.
HSE guidelines state that UV radiation should be considered an occupational hazard for those who work outdoors. Therefore, employers of outdoor workers have a legal duty to safeguard, as far is reasonably practical, their employees from the effects of UV radiation.
When working outdoors, the weather can have a serious impact on worker’s health if the risks have not been properly managed.
This impact may be immediate or occur over a longer time, leading to conditions like skin cancer.
The weather can also affect a worker’s ability to keep safe, for example when handling machinery.
There are several ways to keep yourself and your employees safe from the effects of UV radiation exposure when working outdoors:
Working in the heat presents an additional set of risks, such as exhaustion and heat stroke.
Steps that you can take to protect yourself:
Steps that employers can take to protect workers include:
Contact us if you require assistance.