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Emergency Preparedness: Heatwave Advice For Employers

Posted: 22/07/2019

As lovely as it is to finally be experiencing some more seasonal weather at the moment, businesses would be wise to focus on emergency preparedness and make sure that they’re providing the right kind of health and safety advice to keep their members of staff safe during the heatwave.

According to the Daily Telegraph, temperatures exceeded 30 degrees C today (During July), and in the evenings, the south-east of England could witness mercury reach 34 degrees C.

Where workplaces are concerned, it’s important to ensure that temperatures are reasonable inside buildings, with air conditioning systems and fans to keep offices comfortable and blinds or curtains used to block out sunlight. Anyone working outside should be given the appropriate clothing to wear and use sun cream to prevent burning.

Stress the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day. Businesses must provide staff members with suitable drinking water and people should drink water throughout the day in-order to prevent dehydration.

It might also be a good move to consider relaxing any dress codes you might have at work so that your employees can remain comfortable.

Companies employing people who work outside a lot should ensure that staff members are allowed to take frequent breaks. It might also be worth reviewing your working times so that any tasks undertaken outside can be done in the morning and late afternoon. Remember that temperatures will be at their highest between 11:00 and 15:00.

Outdoor workers should be supplied with lightweight brimmed hats and any personal protective equipment provided should be lightweight and comfortable, but dense enough to prevent UV rays from hitting the skin.

For workers who drive a lot on behalf of the business, companies should ensure that all vehicles are fitted with air conditioning.

Also, provide your employees with advice on how to keep themselves safe. There are numerous steps they can take, from eating frequently and ensuring that meals are light and well balanced to avoid extreme changes in temperature. Did you know, for example, that taking a cold bath or shower after being exposed to heat can trigger heart attacks and cause hypothermia?

Familiarising themselves with the signs of heat exhaustion is also a good idea… these include headache, dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite and feeling sick, cramps in the legs, arms and stomach, pale and clammy skin, fast breathing or pulse and being very thirsty.