As the temperatures continue to soar, Paul Hughes, Aspin’s Group Head of HSEQ offers his top 10 tips for keeping as comfortable, healthy and safe as possible at work and at leisure.
Whether you’re in the office, on site or enjoying some ‘down time’ it’s important not to get overheated or dehydrated as that’s a prime time for accidents to happen. And you can harm your health in as little as 20 minutes in the sun. There are some easy and obvious ways to help you keep healthy and beat the heat.
1. Cover Up
Lighweight and light coloured clothes in natural, closely woven fabrics are best as they absorb perspiration and its evaporation will help keep you cool. Keep your skin and body covered, especially neck and head as much as possible. Always wear your issued PPE when on site. A wide brimmed hat is ideal and a safety helmet will provide some shade for your head but consider how you protect your neck from exposure unless you have a hanging flap attached to your helmet.
Keeping hydrated is vital, drink plenty of water or fruit cordials. Drink at least three litres of water a day and more often to keep hydrated, particularly when carrying out manual work.
3. Eat Small Meals
If you eat a large meal, your body has to work harder to digest it, pushing your metabolism rate up. Small snacks and plenty of fresh fruit and veg are ideal.
4. Tea breaks!
Caffeine in tea and coffee (and drinks with high sugar content) increases your heart rate and blood flow, speeding up your metabolism and body temperature. Swap your cuppa for some water if you can bear it.
5. Sun Aware
Keep your sunscreen well topped up and use a minimum SPF30 against UVA and UVB, even if you’re in the shade. Take particular care if you have fair skin and consult your doctor without delay if you notice any moles or skin changes. Take breaks indoors whenever possible or at least in the shade.
6. Frozen Treats
If you’re out on site, ice cream shops are few and far between. Why not pop some fruit such as watermelon, pineapple slices or some grapes into the freezer overnight and keep them in an insulated lunch box for a fresh, sweet treat.
A damp face cloth or towel around your neck really helps to cool you down fast and hand held, battery operated personal fans are light to slip into a pocket too.
8. Close the window blinds
Closing the window blinds will help keep temperatures inside as low as possible. If you work in an air conditioned office, make sure the windows and doors are closed to keep the cooled air in.
9. Cover up Vehicles
Lightweight reflective screens help keep vehicles cool. Or use an old sheet or tablecloth over the windscreen or dashboard when it’s safe to do so and the vehicle is not in use.
10. Get a good night’s sleep
Tiredness is a major cause of accidents. A lukewarm (not cold) shower before bed, a damp face cloth on your neck, wrists or elbows and a glass of cool water will help lower your temperature for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
For more info, visit the HSE’s guidelines