Will British Roofers be Basking in the Sunshine this Summer?
Another British summer is underway here in the UK and, so far, we haven’t had to deal with a heatwave similar to that of last year. However, the one thing you can rely on with British weather is that it will do the unexpected and we could well see several weeks of hot weather in the coming months. Whilst most of us will welcome this (who doesn’t like not having to worry about downpours in the summer?), those of us who work outdoors, particularly in the roofing industry, may find that the hot sunshine is not quite so welcome as it makes working uncomfortable, to say the least.
The hot weather and bright sunshine present a serious risk for those working outdoors and while there are legal minimum workplace temperatures that apply in the UK, there is no recommended maximum temperature for working. This may well be because we’ve become used to such awful summer weather that there’s been no need so far, but last year we enjoyed an unprecedented heatwave in the early part of the summer and we may see a repeat of this weather in the coming months. This is why we have some advice for roofers and their employers on how to keep cool during a heatwave.
It’s the legal responsibility of the employer to ensure that workers are granted enough rest breaks to hydrate efficiently on a regular basis, making sure they have access to clean drinking water. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises employers to put in place some extra measures during hotter weather:
- Provide access to free cool drinking water at all times
- Encourage workers to remove any personal protective equipment (PPE) during rest breaks to encourage the body to cool down quicker
- Allow more frequent rest breaks in areas that are shaded from the sun
- Introduce shading in areas where work is being undertaken, rescheduling some work to cooler times of the day if possible
- Educate employees on heat stress and how to recognise early signs of this
Although there is, as yet, no legislation governing working outdoors during hot weather, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is campaigning for more employee protection for those who work outdoors during hot weather, as these are the people most likely to suffer from heat stress. The TUC advises that outdoor workers are provided with advice on protecting themselves from any negative effects of the sun. This involves encouraging outdoor workers to use sunscreen and educating all workers on the need to drink more water during hot weather in order to avoid dehydration.
Next week, we’ll be bringing you some information on some of the measures outdoor workers can take to protect themselves during hot weather. Make sure you get this important information by following us on Facebook or Twitter so you get a notification when the advice is published.