GMB Magazine GMB25 Centre Point Summer 2016 - Page 27

Visit GMB online at www.gmb-westmids.org.uk BECOME A GMB HEALTH & P SAFETY RE .UK ORG WWW.GMB. GMB FEELING THE HEAT? eps Whatever the arguments surrounding global warming, there’s little doubt that our summers are getting hotter. As temperatures rise, GMB members in all industries suffer. Working in excessive heat is not only extremely uncomfortable but can also be dangerous and, in some extreme cases, even fatal. Hot work, either outdoors or indoors, can certainly lead to an increase in accidents and injuries. worn. This should not include clothes worn for protective reasons. NO MAXIMUM? WORKING OUTDOORS The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (Regulation 7) require employers to ensure that the temperature in all workplaces during working hours is ‘reasonable’. Unfortunately, there is no recommended maximum temperature. GMB members who work outdoors face some very clear dangers from hot work and exposure to sunlight. There is an increased risk from sunstroke, sunburn and heat exhaustion, particularly when work is physically strenuous. The effects of high temperatures are made worse by other environmental factors. Heat stress is more likely to occur if the air is humid, the air is still, there is direct heat radiation and the exposure is for long periods. ©iStock.com REASONABLE STEPS However, where temperatures are likely to be high, employers should take ‘all reasonable steps’ to achieve a reasonably comfortable temperature. This could include insulating hot machinery and pipes, providing fans and air conditioning, shading windows, positioning work areas away from radiant heat, providing free and plentiful cool drinks, ensuring regular breaks, and allowing loose-fitting clothing to be TEMPERATURE CHECK Employers should provide thermometers around the workplace to allow health and safety representatives to monitor workplace temperature at any time. SHIFT WORK PATTERNS If possible, arrange the working day so that during the time of greatest heat and UV damage from the sun, generally between 11am and 3pm, there is an opportunity to work in a shaded area. A SAFE WORKPLACE Since the employer has a very clear legal duty to provide you with a safe and healthy workplace, there is a need to carry out a risk assessment in order to determine the extent of the problems that might affect you. From this risk assessment, action should be taken to reduce the extent of the problem. Some areas that should be considered are: • • • • • Any clothing supplied should be loose fitting and of a close woven fabric. The supply of hats and neck protection should be considered. The supply of sunscreen, which should be high protection (15 plus). Encourage the taking of frequent breaks. Supply free cold drinks. O HOT? STILL TO B workplace organiser Contact your GM safety rep if or your GMB health and should be you think your employer rkplace. wo doing more about a hot ety saf and lth For more on hea visit www.gmb.org.uk www.gmb-westmids.org.uk 27 GMB25.Centre_Point_26_27.indd 27 20/06/2016 15:18