When working outdoors the effects of the weather can potentially have a serious impact on an employee’s health if the risks have not been considered or properly managed. This may be immediate or occur over a long time.
When working outdoors the weather can influence an individual’s effectiveness and this is not readily managed using just engineering controls. Some of the most effective ways of managing these environments are to introduce some simple controls for example:
• reschedule work to cooler times of the day
• provide more frequent rest breaks and introduce shading to rest areas
• provide free access to cool drinking water
• introduce shading in areas where individuals are working
• encourage the removal of personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss
• educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of heat stress
Working in the sun
Too much sunlight is harmful to your skin. It can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering and skin ageing and in the long term can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK with over 50,000 new cases every year.
A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.
Who is at risk?
If work keeps you outdoors for a long time your skin could be exposed to more sun than is healthy for you. You should take care if you have:
• Freckles or fair skin that doesn’t tan, or goes red or burns before it tans
• red or fair hair and light-coloured eyes
• a large number of moles
What can you do to protect yourself?
People can manage their exposure to the sun by complying with the HSE guidance.