dehydration

Top 4 most common workplace dangers during summer

Posted on 31st May, 2022 | By Liam Roberts

With summertime finally upon us here in the UK, certain industries will begin to see a rise in seasonal risks that come along with the increase in temperature and outdoor based work. Whether they’re risks brought on as a direct result of the weather, or as a result of human error, the summer months pose just as much of a danger to you and your staff as any other time of year. What’s more, they’re often underestimated.

We know how important it is to feel safe on the job, no matter the time of year. Here at Browns Safety, we specialise in providing a range of health and safety courses, as well as a variety of access equipment training courses to help keep you and your staff up to date with the latest safety knowledge.

The right access equipment, for example, can help you and your staff minimise the risk of slips and trips at work. That’s just one of the most common dangers – here’s a short list of some of the top ones!

Dehydration

To put it simply, dehydration is caused when your body loses too much water. This can come as a result of doing hard graft on site or in the warehouse, and not taking on enough fluids at regular intervals. It’s a very easy factor to overlook, so for a bit of guidance, according to the NHS, a few of the symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dizziness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Dryness of mouth, eyes and lips.

Some of them might not sound that threatening individually, but if you’re suffering dizziness while atop a ladder or at the wheel of a forklift, it can easily cause a devastating accident. To cut down on this risk, it’s worth taking all the measures you can to ensure that your staff is well-watered and well-rested, preferably in shaded areas. Regular breaks are key!

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is essentially the next stage of dehydration, and can have more serious consequences on your health. It’s a significant risk posed to those who work outdoors during the summer, and occurs when your body can’t cool down quick enough after being exposed to heat.

According to the NHS, some of the symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Headache
  • A temperature of 38°C or above
  • Feeling sick or suffering a loss of appetite
  • Fast pulse or breathing
  • Intense thirst
  • Clammy and pale skin

They’re notably more serious symptoms than simple dehydration, and to be honest it’s probably fairly unlikely that you and your staff will find yourselves suffering from them, provided that nobody is being dangerously overworked. If you do find yourself suffering any of these symptoms, it’s vital that you cool down immediately by seeking out shade, and taking on fluid as soon as possible. If not, you risk serious effects to your own health like potential organ failure.

Slips and trips

This is one of the most consistently prevalent threats to the UK workforce at any time of year, according to the HSE, and they can be dangerous enough on their own. However, they can be particularly common when coupled with the risk of dehydration and heat stroke. How so? Well, dehydration can make you tired and weary, and as a result, you’re less aware of your surroundings, increasing the risk of a trip or fall.

This is a particular problem that’s common for outdoor construction sites which feature a lot of tools, materials and equipment lying around. You probably know the drill by now – to avoid this, it’s always worth double checking that your staff are always wearing appropriate footwear, and staying alert by keeping themselves well rested and well-hydrated throughout the day.

Vehicle accidents

With warmer weather comes more opportunity for outdoor work, and as a result, the summer months always see an increase in outdoor construction and the use of on-site machinery. This can significantly increase the likelihood of an accident involving a vehicle occurring.

As we’ve mentioned above, the increase in temperature during the summer months can have a significantly adverse effect on anyone working in it for a prolonged amount of time; and these effects are amplified when applied to the context of somebody operating a vehicle. The effects of heat stroke and dehydration can cloud your judgement, and increase the likelihood that a work-related vehicle injury will occur.

Once again, it all comes down to staying hydrated, and taking regular breaks in the shade when you can, as your focus can be significantly impaired otherwise. If you’re operating heavy machinery and fall victim to the effects of dehydration, you risk inflicting serious injury to either yourself or someone around you.

That’s the basics covered! We know how important it is for you to stay safe on site this summer, and just in case you’re in need of a refresher on some of the basic principles regarding health and safety, we offer a variety of training courses that you can get enrolled on, right here at Browns Safety. Our courses are specifically designed to help you and your staff re-familiarise yourselves with some of the basic principles of safety in the workplace, so you can cut down on the risk of accidents or injuries. Your safety is our priority, so if you’re looking to get started, you can book your places by clicking on the link above. Alternatively, just give our team a call on 01282 937120, and we’ll get you sorted!

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