The work environment can be full of treacherous conditions that put you at risk of a multitude of injuries, from minor, to those more serious and potentially life threatening. On top of the potential dangers many workers face each day, the summer months bring their own set of hazardous conditions that you may not realise until it's too late.
While the main responsibility of your safety relies primarily on your employers, it's important that you and your colleagues are aware and able to avoid any dangerous scenarios before they develop.
Drink plenty of fluids
Working outdoors in the hot sun can be incredibly taxing as hard work and high temperatures can quickly lead to severe dehydration. The key is to try and drink at regular intervals throughout the day to avoid dehydration setting in. If you wait until you're thirsty then it means you're already starting to become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause a number of serious symptoms such as dizziness, confusing and even fainting in severe cases, all of which are escalated when you consider the potential dangers this can create for those operating heavy machinery or working within hazardous environments.
Water is still considered the best way to rehydrate your body, but sports drinks will also be just as helpful, allowing you to replenish your body with electrolytes. Coffee and high sugar drinks should be avoided if possible as they won't provide you with the adequate levels of hydration that water and sports drinks can provide.
Take advantage of traditional sun protection
Whether you're working in an industrial setting, in the retail sector or anywhere else that causes you to have daily exposure to the sun, you can't beat the traditional forms of sun protection such as sun tan lotion, hats, caps and even sunglasses. A good sun tan lotion will help protect you from harmful UV rays that can burn your skin and cause other skin conditions, ultimately affecting performance and causing serious irritation. Due to winds and other environmental factors you'll experience when working outdoors, it's important to reapply the lotion every 2 to 3 hours else you run the risk of your skin no longer being protected. Hats and sunglasses can also aid in helping to provide added levels of protection but as long as it doesn't compromise the performance of any protective working clothing that you may be required to wear.
Schedule your workload correctly
When it comes to scheduling your workload for the day, you should try and avoid working at peak times during the day when the sun is at its strongest. Although it's going to be hot regardless of the time of day, working either first thing in the morning or during the evening will allow you to avoid the sun when its at its strongest and complete your work without suffering excessive sunburn or dehydration, drastically improving working conditions and performance.
Use summer orientated workwear
After the cold months, when it comes to wearing protective clothing, such as those of a high visibility and flame retardant variety, you may have become accustomed to wearing heavy, padded working clothing. Although this does provide you with added warmth and protection in winter, during the summer it only serves to be an added contributor to the extreme heat you're experiencing. Changing your workwear clothing to those designed for sunnier climates will allow you to be much cooler while still maintaining those high levels of protection your job requires.
This means instead of a high visibility jacket you wear a high visibility vest, instead of workwear trousers you wear workwear shorts, instead of a flame retardant sweatshirt you wear a flame retardant long sleeve t-shirt, you can see the trend we've got going here.
All of these garments will provide you with the same levels of daily protection that your job requires in order to keep you safe within a hazardous environment without you having to suffer the stifling summer conditions that some protective workwear clothing would provide.