Did you know that summer is the peak season for many industries?
These include construction, oil & gas, and energy workers, with many of these workers often struggling with rising temperatures on the job. Threats, such as heatstroke, sun exposure and dehydration, become a reality for your team when working in PPE in the summer.
The weather may lift your mood and the extra Vitamin D is always beneficial but the warmer weather means different requirements for your PPE and employees’ safety.
We have a range of solutions for the warmer months, ensuring your employees are comfortable but most importantly better protected.
👕 Cooler clothing - that includes t-shirts/shorts/hi-vis waistcoats
☀️ Protective Sun lotion
🧢 Lightweight headgear - such as Bump caps, Vented Hard Hats
🕶️ Protective sunglasses (prescription lenses available)
🧤 Ventilated gloves to keep your hands cool
Choosing the right kind of PPE
Ensuring you have the right kind of PPE for the season is key.
- Try opting for lighter colours, so blue or pale grey instead of black as this will help reflect the suns heat rather than absorbing it.
- Considering the material, the garment is made from is also important, it will need to meet all safety regulations as a priority however it should be made from lighter material than what is worn during the winter.
- Wearing lightweight base layers with moisture-wicking technology will keep your employees cooler and starve off the summer heat. Cotton can retain moisture and remain wet from perspiration.
Protecting your skin
Did you know that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK? Too much UV radiation exposure can cause skin damage, those with pale skin/fair hair may also be at more risk. Working with some chemicals such as dyes, wood preservatives and coal tar as well as contact with certain plants can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Adopted by the World Health Organisation, the UV Index informs on a daily basis what the UV levels are and when sun protection measures are required. Soon as UV 3 is reached, that’s when you need extra protection including sunscreen, sunglasses and protective headwear - not just when the sun is shing.
Some simple tips to keep your employees protected:
- Keep your top on as it acts as an extra layer of protection
- Use high-factor sunscreen (at least SPF15)
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- Between 11 – 3 is when the sun is at its peak, so keep in the shade if possible
- Protect your head and neck – wear a hat with a brim or flap that protects the ears and neck
- Check your skin regularly for unusual spots or moles that change size, shape or colour and to seek medical advice promptly if they notice any changes.
When working in PPE combined with the warmer weather, the body loses more water due to sweating more so making sure your employees stay hydrated is very important, we are after all 60% water. Encourage your employees to always have a water bottle close by, preventing the effects of dehydration; light headed, dizzy or feeling thirsty.
A handy tip would be to have temporary structures offering shade combined with water drinking stations.
Dehydration can cause serious issues including reducing your cognitive function, impair decision making, slower reaction time and reducing productivity. As an average it’s recommended 250-300ml of fluid is consumed every 15 minutes, remembering to replenish salts and electrolytes that have been lost through sweat.
Ways to minimise the risk of dehydration include:
- Hydrate before you start work
- Choose low-sugar options such as water or fruit juice
- Drink smaller amounts often rather than large amount occasionally
- Don’t rely on feeling thirsty – that’s a sign you’re already dehydrated.
Look after your PPE
Extreme heat and dirty environments, especially dust, dirt and sweat can cause PPE to wear much quicker than normal. Ensuring your protective equipment is cleaned the right way will preserve the unique characteristics.
Make sure you look after your PPE the right way, and it will look after you.
It’s a given that if your employees are on site, they’ll likely be wearing a hard hat. Some safety helmets can be like a lava source in the sun, choosing a vented option allows for airflow, cooler air coming in and hot air escaping. With dry cooling technology, attaching sweatbands and helmet pads they can provide extra comfort; preventing sweat dripping down the head.
If a hard hat isn’t required but head protection is still needed then Bump caps are a lighter alternative, keeping the sun out of the eyes and allowing the flow of air to circulate round the head.
Certain tasks will require safety glasses to be worn. There are many lens options offering different protection levels, from smoke-tinted for reducing solar glare to ultraviolet filtering. We also offer a range of sunglasses available with prescription lenses.
If you’re looking for workwear and PPE for Summer weather, we’re here to help you. Some simple tweaks and wise choices in your PPE selection could make all the difference to your staff wellbeing during the warmer months.
Take a look at some of our CleanAir products online