How to Protect Your Employees While Outdoors

If your business expects employees to work outdoors, there must be strategies in place to protect their health and wellbeing. There are much higher risks when working outdoors than there are when working indoors, due to hazards such as weather, uneven ground and large equipment. As the employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that a risk assessment is carried out before your employees work on an outdoor site and that all of the health and safety aspects have been investigated. In order to protect your employees outside, we have put together the following list of tips that may come in useful:

1. Skincare

Your employees will be working long shifts exposed to the sun and will, therefore, be at significant risk of sun damage. As a result, employers need to ensure that each employee is equipped with the relevant equipment and strategies to prevent UV rays from causing severe damage to the skin. This may include:

  • Wearing a high-factor sunscreen
  • Wearing long-sleeved tops and a hat
  • Allowing employees to regularly find shade and providing shade where possible

Employees should also be aware of any changes to the skin that may need to be investigated by a GP; especially with moles which are at significant risk of developing into skin cancer.

Employers should also ensure that there is drinking water available on-site which should be consumed approximately every 20 minutes to prevent energy loss and dehydration. Scheduled breaks should also be in place for employees to recharge their batteries and take some time out from the heat between every 30 minutes to one hour.

2. Wear protective clothing

As your employees will be working outdoors all year round, you need to ensure that protective clothing is worn as a precautionary measure. Warm clothing from is essential for keeping employees protected against harsh weathers – especially in winter. This may include thermal base layers to fleeces and greatcoats. During the winter, temperatures can often drop below freezing, where the body is susceptible to ‘cold stress’ This is when the body is unable to control its temperature and in worst-case scenarios leads to hypothermia. Therefore, keeping the body temperature up is essential.

Alongside this, there should also be a facility where employees can take breaks in the warmth and grab a hot drink to increase body temperature. If the correct clothing and equipment are not supplied, it could have a serious impact on your employees’ short and long-term health.

3. Working off-site

When employees are not working on-site, it can be difficult to manage the risks if you are not present. In this case, you should aim to do everything in your power so that employees are aware of the risks and how to protect themselves from hazards, injury and illness. If you are in collaboration with another business, this will be a shared responsibility between both companies, therefore, you must ensure all of the relevant risk assessments are undertaken before any practical work is started. If in any doubt, it may be wise to carry out your own health and safety checks as a precaution. 

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