Can health and safety stand the heat?
The British summer may be a bit of a misnomer, but the current heat wave has reminded UK employers that they should always be alive to the very real health and safety risks associated with people working in hot temperatures.Tim Hill, partner at international law firm Eversheds comments: "Employers need to be mindful of the numerous health risks for over exposure to warm weather. These inc lude heat stroke, heat exhaustion, fainting, or heat rash and other skin problems. Not only can the heat cause health risks, it can also significantly hamper the productivity of a business as workers struggle to maintain energy levels and concentration. This will be particularly relevant for workers who are tasked with hard, outdoor physical exertion or those who have to wear heavy personal protective equipment.
“Every business, whether indoor or outdoor based, should look at how each of their workers may be exposed to excessive heat at work, and look to minimise the risks associated with this exposure. For example, employers may need to schedule additional rest and water breaks in hot conditions for people who work outside. Employers may also need to look at how workplace machinery reacts to unusually warm weather, and be completely confident that it is still safe to use.
“In short, employer's need to make sure that in times of excessive heat, health and safety policies and procedures are not exposed as either inappropriate or redundant when placed under the full spotlight of the sun."
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