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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.




Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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