Keeping your Cool on the Rooftop
One of our articles published last week brought our readers some useful advice on the extra risks that we face when working outdoors in the bright sunshine and summer heat. We had some information on some measures that can be taken by employers to protect their workers from the heat and the sun, although we haven’t, as yet, experienced the temperatures that we enjoyed during last summer’s heatwave. One thing you can rely on with the British weather is that it can change quite quickly so we may be in luck again this year and be treated to another balmy summer with temperatures rising and long, sunny days.
Working outdoors during the summer, especially working on roofs, leaves us exposed to some extra risks. Here in the UK, there are no legally proscribed minimum or maximum temperatures relating to outside work, but your employer does have a legal obligation and a duty of care to put in place some measures to mitigate the effects of the bright sunshine and hot weather. However, as an employee, you have a duty of care towards yourself, and should be doing what you can to protect yourself. AS such, we’ve got some advice on what roofing workers can do to make sure that they stay safe from the sun this summer.
- Use Sunscreen – sunscreen is not just for kids, it’s not for sissies – we all need sunscreen, even here in the UK! There is plenty of scientific evidence that shows that exposure to the sun damages our skin, so if you’re working outdoors, slather on some high factor sunscreen and avoid the Burn.
- Drink – water to stay hydrated. Your employer should make sure that free access to cool drinking water is available for all workers.
- Don’t Strip – off your top. As tempting as it may be, taking off your top to get a tan is not a good idea when you’re working. Be sensible, be safe and keep your top on in work. Make sure that the clothing you wear on hot days is made from closely woven materials that will protect you from sunburn. If possible, wear a hat with a brim, or with a flap that shades your ears and the back of your neck.
- Take Care – if you have fair or freckled skin as these skin types tend to burn more easily than others. Also, people with red or blond hair and light-coloured eyes are more likely to burn. If you have any moles, keep them out of the sun and you may want to get them checked by a doctor if you have several moles.
- Remove – any personal protective equipment (PPE) during break times as this will help your body cool down more quickly.
Check back with us next week to learn about the early symptoms of heat stress and sunstroke so you can be on the lookout for these signs in yourself and your colleagues. If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll get a notification when the information is available.