The UK has been blessed with some seriously good weather over the last few days – and long may it continue! But if you work outside, you do need to be mindful of your health and wellbeing as high temperatures and lots of sun can quickly take its toll if you’re not careful.
Make sure that you’re wearing the appropriate safety clothing, for example. Bear in mind that wearing the right kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) can actually have a very real impact on your productivity levels, so go for lightweight clothing and gloves so you can continue to work comfortably even as the mercury rises.
If you’re really suffering in the sun, you can also invest in evaporative cooling equipment that can really help combat the effects of hot weather while you’re at work. This kind of equipment works by retaining moisture and allowing it to evaporate slowly, which has a cooling effect on your skin.
It’s not just about what you wear, however. You also need to adjust your behaviour slightly so you don’t overheat. Make sure that you stay properly hydrated throughout the day – your first line of defence against succumbing to hot weather. Always pre-hydrate before your shift starts and remember that if you’re thirsty then it’s too late – you’re already dehydrated.
Drink smaller amounts of low-sugar healthy drinks or water instead of larger amounts occasionally and try to eat foods rich in fluid to keep yourself hydrated that way as well.
Also make sure that you take proper rests every hour or less if it’s really incredibly hot outside. Try and get in the shade when you do take a break so you’re not out in the sun all day. When you’re on a break, think about removing your PPE to help encourage heat loss.
And, of course, don’t forget to wear sun cream when outside or you’ll soon find yourself burning. There should also always be someone on site trained in first aid in case someone gets sunstroke or heatstroke. Site managers should also think about setting up some kind of system where employees look out for one another and know the signs of heat-related illnesses so action can be taken quickly in an emergency.
Physically intensive tasks should not be performed in the heat of the day if at all so try to prioritise other jobs if possible, picking up where you left off when the weather finally cools down once again.
Temperatures have reached near record levels for the month of June, the Guardian reports, with the heatwave looking like it’s going to continue into July – so you’d certainly be wise to make sure you look after yourself while working outside or you could find yourself in dire straits.
That said, there is also the chance of thundery showers making their presence felt in the south-west of the country over the weekend, so remember this if you’re working outside over Saturday and Sunday as well.