Hot Workers Pose a Health and Safety Risk
Although the weather can be extremely variable, as the weather heats up in summer, so does the temperature in the workplace. This can have a number of health and safety implications for your workers and employees.
A hotter temperature can lead to drowsiness, which is an obvious danger for those workers operating machinery or performing tasks which require high levels of concentration to prevent an incident from occurring. Examples of this include construction site workers operating cranes, driving trucks etc, where falling asleep whilst the machinery is in motion, or losing concentration could easily lead to a serious injury or fatality, either to themselves, to fellow workers, or to nearby members of the public or site visitors.
Even if a worker is awake and alert, if they feel too hot it may lead to them not wearing necessary protective equipment in order to try and keep cool. Protective headgear, gloves, fireproof clothing etc trap heat as well as protecting the body, which can significantly raise a person's temperature. Failing to wear safety equipment greatly increases the chances of a serious injury or death occurring in the event of an incident.
There is also a great belief that people become more irritable when they are hot. This can increase the chances of violence and conflict in the workplace. Not only can this result in immediate injuries if an argument results in actual physical conflict, but can also have a much more long-term effect of morale and teamwork not only from the persons involved who may not communicate with each other afterwards, but also with other workers who may take sides.
To reduce the health and safety risks associated with hot temperatures, actions such as the use of air conditioning and fans can provide a cooler workplace which has a much more comfortable ambient temperature. A fan may not be suitable for all places of work though, for example it may create a COSHH hazard if it stirs up settled dust which is subsequently breathed in by those nearby. Depending on the work or timescales involved, some companies may be able to switch tasks depending on the weather (e.g. construction workers doing work on the inside of a project to keep out of the sun and then resuming work outdoors when it is cooler).
Having employees attend health and safety training courses will also provide them with a greater understanding of the dangers that are present in their particular workplace, which may mean they think twice before taking risks such as not using protective equipment just because they are hot.