5. Outdoor working

When working outdoors, the weather can have a serious impact on worker’s health if the risks have not been properly managed.

This impact may be immediate or occur over a longer time, leading to conditions like skin cancer.

The weather can also affect a worker’s ability to keep safe, for example when handling machinery.

There are simple actions you can take to protect people working outdoors.

Cold environments

  • Ensure the personal protective equipment issued is appropriate
  • Provide mobile facilities for warming up, and soup or hot drinks
  • Introduce more frequent rest breaks
  • Consider delaying the work until warmer times of the year without compromising on safety
  • Make sure workers can recognise the early symptoms of cold stress, such as a cough or body aches

Hot environments

  • 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 people are working
  • Encourage workers to remove personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss
  • Make sure workers can recognise the early symptoms of heat stress

Working in the sun

Too much sunlight can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering and skin ageing. In the long term, it can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.

You can find more guidance on outdoor workers and sun exposure.

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