Posted on: 07 June 2022

Summer is approaching, days are getting longer, and the climate is getting warmer. The weather is a factor which can affect outdoor workers such as builders working on construction sites, as it determines the effectiveness and efficiency of their work output.  

So, if your work keeps you outdoors in the heat and sun, read this guide to remain safe and productive.  

Safety precautions for working in the sun and heat 

Sunlight provides vitamin D which is good for the body but too much sunlight can cause harm to the skin. The sun can be responsible for sunburn, blistering, and skin ageing, as well as an elevated risk of skin cancer in the long run. Additionally, according to Health and Safety Executive skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United Kingdom, with over 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year.  

To protect yourself from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays:

  • Cover yourself up by wearing lightweight, tightly woven clothing that you cannot see through  

  • Use sunscreen, a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 per cent of UV rays  

  • Try wearing a hat as it will protect your neck, ears, forehead, and nose from the ultraviolet (UV) rays 

  • Incorporate UV-absorbent shades in your safety equipment for a sunny and hot day. Sunglasses should block 99 to 100 per cent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation  

The combination of heat and humidity can be a serious health threat during the summer months, especially when you perform strenuous work. In order to beat the heat: 

  • Drink plenty of water before you feel thirsty 

  • Try to wear light breathable clothing which has dry-fit material 

  • Eat smaller meals before work, so you will not feel uneasy due to the heat  

  • Hydrate yourself with water rather than caffeine and fizzy drinks 

  • Be aware that equipment and work suits can increase heat stress while working  

Symptoms of dehydration  

Working outdoors in the heat exerts physical stress which can cause dehydration. It is a situation which occurs when you lose more water than your intake. Staying hydrated is important to be productive and keep all your body functions running smoothly.  

The symptoms:  

  • Excessive thirst 

  • Sleepiness or tiredness  

  • Dry mouth  

  • Muscle weakness 

  • Headache 

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 

How to prevent dehydration  

To prevent dehydration, consume fluids and foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables. It can be complex to decide the quantity of the fluids needed as it depends on your age, physical condition, activity level and body chemistry. The best approach is to make a conscious effort to stay hydrated throughout the day. 

Additionally, keep in mind that exertion is part of the construction life, so, take care of yourself with frequent water breaks. Adjust your intake accordingly to match your activity and working conditions in order to stay healthy and alert. 

Safety precautions against ticks, insect bites and stings  

Working outside means you are more at risk of insect bites and stings, which can be dangerous to those who are allergic, therefore you should take the following precautions to protect yourself:  

  • Use an insect repellent 

  • Wear long-sleeved clothes which cover your arms and legs fully 

  • Wear safety boots that cover your feet. 

  • Avoid wearing heavy perfumes/aftershaves or scented lotions which can attract insects 

  • Check before drinking from cups, bottles or cans. Stinging insects are attracted to sweet drinks. 

  • After work, wash and dry your work clothes at high temperatures to kill all the bacteria and ticks. 

Construction insurance with Premierline  

When working in an industry such as construction, any tradesman will know the smallest mistake can have major consequences, meaning construction insurance that covers the risks that your business faces should be a top priority. 

At Premierline, we are passionate about helping you protect the business that you have built. We provide insurance advice and will assess your insurance needs to make sure that you are covered should the worst happen. Our business insurance advisors work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurance providers to find you a competitive construction insurance quote. 

Sources:

Zywave | Premierline  

HSE - Temperature: Outdoor working 

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