Safety and Health at Work Day brings with it a focus on climate change

Safety and Health at Work Day puts construction workers in the spotlight.

AS climate change intensifies so too do concerns about the safety of workers around the world.

With extreme weather events now increasingly likely, employers are being urged to consider the long-term safety of their employees – in particular, those who work outdoors or in construction who appear to be at much greater risk.

To coincide with Safety and Health at Work Day on April 28, the International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations, has highlighted six key areas for employers to consider.

Safety and Health at Work Day prompts a discussion on climate

For many outdoor workers, or those working in poorly-ventilated environments including factories and warehouses, heat is likely to become a serious problem in the years to come.

As the climate gets hotter, the likelihood of long spells of searing temperatures becomes increasingly likely.

The International Labour Organization recommends that special consideration should be made for those who may work physically or in heavy, protective clothing. Mitigations may include regular breaks, making water readily available to avoid the risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, and the installation of air conditioning or cooling systems where appropriate.

To help, we’ve put together some helpful advice about the ways in which you can stay safe in a heatwave.

As temperatures rise, legionella is also another significant health and safety risk to be aware of.

Legionella bacteria thrive in water which is stored above 20-45°C so warmer weather is likely to see it multiply at a much faster rate.

Keeping on top of regular water monitoring is absolutely key. For more information head to our dedicated website at www.legionellarisks.co.uk

With the likelihood of more sunshine comes the increased risk of exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

In recent years, there has been a surge in the numbers of people being diagnosed with skin cancers including melanoma, particularly among those who work outside, including many construction workers. Each year more than 18,960 deaths from work-related deaths from non-melanoma skin cancer alone.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) already advises construction workers to follow a number of important rules including:

  • Keep your top on
  • Wear a hat with a brim or a flap that covers the ears and the back of the neck
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible
  • Use a high factor sunscreen of at least SPF15
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • Check your skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots.

Extreme weather and air pollution – a double threat

The International Labour Organization estimates that as many as 2.06 million were killed in weather-related events between 1970 and 2019 with that number expected to rise in further in the years to come.

Workers can be at risk of injury or death as a result of the event itself, or in the immediate aftermath. Those most at risk include firefighters, construction workers or those working in agriculture.

Air pollution and climate change are inextricably linked.

Not only does air pollution cause climate change, but climate change also fuels air pollution  causing a dangerous, vicious cycle.

As the climate changes, the air we breathe is likely to carry more pollutants, causing hazards for everyone.

The law states that employers are responsible that all workplaces have good supplies of fresh air, rather that’s natural air, or which is pumped into the premises using mechanical means.

Risks from agrochemicals and vector-borne diseases

As the climate changes, the risks from insects and parasites – some of which may never have been seen in the UK before – increases.

As a result, farm workers may find themselves at greater risk of exposure to pesticides and the likelihood of being exposed to diseases also goes up.

At Acorn Safety Services we work alongside businesses of all kinds to ensure they are fully compliant with the latest rules and regulations and that they can plan ahead for any eventuality.

This Safety and Health at Work Day make a plan for the future. For more information about our services and the ways in which we can help get in touch with our friendly team today.

For all your health and safety needs – not only on Safety and Health at Work Day but every day, visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ today or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.


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