It is the start of the summer and we are just finishing a record streak of hot weather in the UK. With it workplaces have seen a rise in heat stress and other heat related ill health. Whilst we may not see such a sustained hot period again – famous last words – we should still be prepared.
Not preparing staff against the risks of heat stress can lead to lost time, ill health and injuries. Make sure that employees understand the signs of heat stress:
Signs of heat stress
Feeling sick, throwing up or diarrhea
In addition to watching out for the above symptoms ensure that your employees know how to reduce the risks. Here are some practical ways to reduce the risk of heat stress.
Drink frequently Drink regularly throughout the day. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
Seek the shade As tempting though it may be to top up your tan during breaktimes – don’t. Try to spend your breaks in the shade cooling down. This is essential if you work outdoors.
Dress for the occasion Covering up is better than applying suncream’s. Wearing light coloured, light weight and loose fitting clothing is preferable.
Watch out for each other Keep an eye on fellow workers. If they experience any of the symptoms described above then provide assistance or report it to a line manager.
Take it easy Try to stay indoors and strenuous exercises. If this is not possible then try to limit it to cooler parts of the day or rotate strenuous tasks amongst a team.