Helpful tips for staying safe in the workplace in summer
In South Africa, summer temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius. When working outdoors, this can be a life-threatening hazard if employees are not properly protected.
Here are some helpful tips to stay safe:
- Remember that there are minimum PPE requirements for sun protection. This means that short-sleeved t-shirts and shorts aren’t usually sufficient. Always dress for safety over comfort.
- Wear loose-fitting and light-coloured clothing. Dark fabric attracts and absorbs more sun and heat.
- Drink a lot of fluids. Be careful of energy drinks and sodas – these speed up dehydration.
- Wear a high SPF sun block and a hat or helmet.
- Take regular breaks and go into the shade, indoors, or into an air-conditioned car. Your body needs to recover from the heat.
- Stop working if you feel dizzy, weak or nauseous.
- In the hottest part of the day, try to avoid outdoor work and strenuous labour.
- Use protective eye wear to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.
- Workplace environments with high heat production, such as manufacturing, need well-ventilated areas and places to cool down.
- Make sure that all employees know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, and that there is someone trained in first aid on every shift.
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