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Working in hot weather – tips for keeping staff safe

As temperatures are set to sore in parts of the country, it is important that employees know how to keep themselves safe and healthy while working in the hot weather.

Common risks associated with high temperatures include sunburn, dehydration, tiredness, muscle cramps, rashes, eye damage, discomfort and even fainting.

In severe cases, overheating can cause heat exhaustion and heatstroke, both of which are serious conditions which require urgent attention.

Heat exhaustion happens when an individual loses too much fluid and salt from sweating in hot conditions. While the body temperature usually remains normal, heat exhaustion can cause symptoms such as; excessive sweating, dizziness, paleness, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, tiredness, weakness, fainting and clammy skin.

Heatstroke is more severe than heat exhaustion and occurs if the body temperature rises above 40C (104F). Symptoms of heatstroke include; confusion, slurred speech, seizures, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, headache and unresponsiveness.

Tips for keeping safe

Whether working in an office environment, or working outdoors, there are some simple steps that can be followed to ensure personal safety is maintained:

  • Stay hydrated – staying hydrated will help your body to maintain a normal body temperature. Tea, coffee and fizzy drinks should be avoided as much as possible as they can be dehydrating.
  • Wear sunscreen – sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and can contribute to skin cancers. To protect yourself from sunburn, sunscreen of at least SPF15 should be applied every 1-2 hours
  • Take regular breaks inside or in the shade if working outside to cool down
  • Where possible, avoid staying in the sun between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its highest point
  • If working in an office space, ask your employer to provide a fan if there is no air con in the building

If you require additional information please get in touch with us.

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