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23 September 2022

Summer Safety: How to Keep Workers Cool and Safe During the Summer Months

Workers heading up a staircase in order to survey a building site on a sunny day

It’s been a long winter, but slowly and surely the weather is starting to turn. With warmer weather comes a different set of health and safety considerations to make sure that your team is well taken care of while out on the job. But how can you go about keeping them cool throughout the entire season? Look no further than this handy guide that touches on everything you should be thinking about, how to go about the process as well as pointing you in the right direction for the best PPE options on the market.


Know The Potential Risks

Warmer weather presents a series of different risks in an industrial workplace. A good starting point is to isolate these relative to the specific industry you operate in. The most common dangers include workers being exposed to heat cramps or rashes, both of which are the result of prolonged sweating in hot conditions. On a more severe level, heat exhaustion or stroke are risks to anybody with multiple hours of exposure to high temperatures while performing a strenuous job. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, as the body can no longer regulate its core temperature and is at risk of shutting down completely.


Update Internal Safety Regulations

Depending on the industry it operates in, all businesses are required to create internal safety regulations as a form of protection for its workers. If not by law, doing so is essential to creating a healthy work environment across a variety of departments. An additional protection to work in should include your safety officer prioritising it being updated regularly, especially if your operations start growing. Internal regulations should factor in how to keep workers cool and safe during warmer periods, especially if some links in the supply chain include strenuous labour in the heat of the day. 


Adjusting Schedules if Need Be

Although it may seem somewhat drastic, adjusting work schedules to avoid employees backing in the sun at noon might be a quick fix to reduce the likelihood of some of the risks mentioned earlier. The pandemic has made most people far more flexible in terms of how and when they work, so it might be worth exploring with the internal team. This can also be implemented on days with high temperatures and humidity levels, especially for workers that have physically demanding tasks to get to. If it isn’t possible to shift schedules around, the bare minimum should be different PPE options to allow them to work in a comfortable environment. 


Reduce Physical Demands and Time Spent Working

Although there may be strict deadlines in place for the project, a good leader will do what they can to distribute the more physically intensive tasks across more than just the backs of a handful of workers. These should be evenly distributed among a greater team, even if it means investing in some extra manpower in the form of day hires. Doing so might even reduce the time needed to complete jobs and tasks. Less time working coupled with high levels of productivity is the way of the future no matter which industry you might be operating in.


A welder operating in hot conditions as part of an industrial operation


Offer Shaded Shelter

How much thought has been put into the amount of shelter available to workers during the course of their days? You don’t need to create a rec room, but can provide enough seating for the team to be able to enjoy their tea and lunch breaks in shaded shelter. This gives them time to rest and recuperate before moving on to the next work session. Without this, the risks of cramping and heat stroke are far higher. Temporary structures can be erected and moved from one area of the site to the next. More permanent options are great for in-house warehouses or studios too. Talk to employees about their needs before investing in this. 

A Steady Water Supply is Essential

One of the best ways to guarantee that workers keep cool and safe during summer months is to reiterate the importance of hydration while on the job, as well as providing a steady supply of clean water for the team at all hours. This is a basic human right and should not be skimped on in any way. You could even take things a step further by renting water coolers from reputable companies like Aquazania. They handle all the logistics for bottled or bottleless purified water options at affordable prices, solving a problem practically in a way that won’t affect the bottom line all that much. If you’re relying on tap water only, you run the risk of greater absenteeism, which has the potential to derail any project at any time. 

Regular Training to Spot Gaps

Offering regular training sessions related to how workers can keep themselves protected from the dangers of heat and humidity is a good way to educate them. Refresher courses are great reminders too that they’ve got to take the right precautions to assure their good health while on the job. Another benefit of repeated training sessions is the ability to ask questions and spot gaps relative to the needs of the team. This offers an opportunity for the safety officer to implement changes that will reduce the likelihood of injury or illness on the job, simultaneously limiting the risks of costly litigation down the line (effectively a win-win situation).

The Right PPE for the Job

No matter how many precautions you take, the wrong PPE can be detrimental to the health of the workers, as well as to general productivity levels too. Accounting for season-specific options is what the G.Fox team does best. Finding loose fitting, breathable options during warmer periods is a great way to encourage a positive work environment. Although they are responsible for themselves, by offering the right PPE and workwear it’s possible to lay a good foundation and signal that you care about their wellbeing. If you need advice on materials or the best PPE to buy based on the needs of your workers, reach out to us today.

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