Working Outside in Summer: Staying Safe

Due to the unpredictable weather during the UK summertime, many may think that working outdoors is without risk.

But the sun and UV levels are still present and can be powerful during warmer months, so side effects such as sunburn and dehydration can be commonplace.

It is important to keep yourself safe when at work as there is a range of hazards that can affect workers across the country during the summer.

First4Lawyers recently ran a poll asking 1,632 workers what they were most concerned about when working outside in summer. They said:

  • Staying hydrated

This is an important factor to keep in mind for everyone during the summer months, but not least for people working outside in the hot weather for many hours a day.

If you tend to forget to stay hydrated, there are plenty of handy apps out there which can send you notifications to remind you to drink water.

36.2% of workers we asked highlighted this as a main concern – the largest majority.

  • Overheating

Overheating can cause a lot of issues for the body, such as fainting, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. So it is very important to not spend too much time in the sun or heat if you can.

Employers do have a responsibility to provide shaded areas and spread periods of work out to cooler times of the day.

31.7% of the workers we asked said this was a concern for them.

  • Sunburn

27.9% of all outdoor workers we polled said they are concerned about sunburn during the summer.

Long-term exposure to the sun and serious sunburn can increase the risks of skin cancer and melanoma, as well as damage to the skin.

It is advised that you wear appropriate clothing during working hours that can cover exposed areas that may be subject to burning.

Your employer is also subject to providing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) when working outside.

What should employers do?

When working in hot environments, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) firstly recommends that an employer should carry out a risk assessment to cover all factors that could cause injury or illness to a worker in the sun.

To prevent dehydration, the HSE says that employers should “provide free access to cool drinking water” when working in hot environments. If they don’t do this then you have every right to take it up with them.

For cases of overheating, the HSE recommends that employers should “reschedule work to cooler times of the day”, “provide more frequent rest breaks and introduce shading to rest areas”, and “educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of heat stress”. If your employer fails to take these steps then they could be putting your health at risk.

When it comes to preventing sunburn, employers are advised by the HSE to “introduce shading in areas where individuals are working” and encourage workers to wear suitable clothing and provide them with PPE.

How First4Lawyers could help

If your employer fails to carry out their duty in protecting you and you do unfortunately develop symptoms as a result of too much heat or sun exposure, then they could be held responsible for this and you could claim compensation.

If you believe this has happened to you then you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.

So just give us a call, claim online, or request a callback. We are here to help every step of the way.


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