Health and safety in a heatwave – urgent advice which could save lives

Health and safety in a heatwave - our top tips

While we’re all enjoying some much-needed summer sunshine it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with the warmer weather.

For people working outside, or in factories, hot weather can put them at risk of health and safety issues including heat stress while the use of hose pipes and taps, which may have laid dormant throughout the winter, could expose workers to Legionnaires Disease – a potentially fatal condition.

In this blog, the team at Acorn Safety Services explain more about the ways you can use to stay safe this summer.

Protecting your team from high temperatures

Rising temperatures can have a serious effect on the health and safety of staff, putting them at greater risk of developing of heat stress.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) heat stress has a number of different symptoms which can vary from person to person, including an inability to concentrate, a heat rash, severe thirst and fainting. It can occur anywhere, but is much more likely in high pressure environment including factories, boiler rooms and power plants.

To alleviate the potential risks, it’s really important to carry out a health and safety risk assessment which will identify any potential issues and find ways to mitigate them. For example, if your staff have a high work rate and where protective clothing (PPE), they could be at greater risk of heat stress.

You can reduce the risk by looking at work patterns, limiting exposure to high-heat environments and protect against dehydration by providing cool water and sufficient breaks.

Those working outdoors – and in particular those working with machinery – should take particular care to protect themselves from the damaging effects of the sun.

Legionella bacteria: A hidden threat

As taps, hosepipes and air conditioning start to be used more frequently – particularly in domestic gardens, offices and in hotels with outdoor facilities – the threat from legionella becomes even greater.

Throughout the winter, legionella bacteria may have developed in damp conditions inside plumbing, hosepipes and spa pools, which could be inhaled by staff or visitors once they are turned on.

For the elderly, or members of staff who may be immunocompromised, this can be a huge problem, putting them at much greater risk of developing Legionnaires Disease, a serious lung condition, similar to pneumonia, which is caused by exposure to legionella bacteria. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and a persistent cough.

Checking for the presence of the bacteria in your air conditioning or water system, by carrying out a full survey, is the only way to protect yourself and those around you from the potentially devastating effects of this hidden killer.

Acorn Safety Services – here to help you

If you need our help this summer – or any time of the year – the team at Acorn Safety Services will always be there to help.

Based in Northampton, and with clients across the UK, we can help advise on all things health and safety, whether that’s looking after the health and wellbeing for you staff on-site or by offering a wide range of services including risk assessments for legionella and fire.

You can get in touch via our website where you can arrange a FREE 30-minute on-line initial consultation with one of our health and safety experts. If you prefer to speak with one of our consultants personally, you can do so by calling us on 01604 930380.

Our friendly team will be on hand throughout, advising you on the steps you need to take to ensure your team stays fit and healthy this summer – and beyond.

For all your health and safety needs visit today or contact us at or on 01604 930380.

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