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Heat stress in the workplace

In the summer months heat stress can be a real problem for people working in sectors like waste collection, highways services and construction/utilities.  

Heat stress is the result of your body's inability to regulate its temperature and can cause symptoms like an inability to concentrate; muscle cramps; fainting and at extreme levels a heat stroke which could result in death.

Very often the unpredictability of British weather can result in a lack of preparedness for heat waves and result in a higher risk of heat stress for outdoor workers.

How can you prevent this being a problem for your staff?  Here’s a few tips:

- Train your workers in the symptoms of heat stress and the steps they can take to avoid it.  This could include taking regular breaks in the shade or drinking small amounts of water before, during and after work.

- Regulate the amount of time they spend working in hot conditions.  Mandate set time limits for working and breaks.

- Identify workers who are more at risk from heat stress.  This could include employees who are pregnant, suffer from an illness or are taking certain medications that could lead to the early onset of heat stress.  Measures should be put in place for these employees specifically.

- Provide your workers with clothing that is more breathable and lightweight.  One of the primary causes of heat stress is when heavier clothing stops sweat evaporation and heat dissipation.  Some clothing that you could consider include, lightweight polo shirts or t-shirts, clothing with wicking properties, lightweight trousers or cooling clothing (with cool inserts that can be replaced/re-cooled)

If you want to speak to us about your summer clothing options then the best person is Russell Maddox.  He’s available on russell@pksafetyuk.com or 07584 213199.  Alternatively complete the quick form below and he’ll be in touch.

We hope this helps and that you enjoy more excellent summer weather!!