Health and Safety Executive issues set of guidelines for construction workers suffering in the sunshine.
The Health and Safety Executive this week urged contractors to ensure workers do not suffer as temperatures rose beyond 30°C.

The announcement came as site officials at Heathrow Terminal 5 in west London have organised extra water supplies for site huts to cope with the increased demand.

Construction firms are required to provide workers with adequate water provisions under the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996. The legislation states that supplies of drinking water should be conspicuously signposted to draw workers' attention to them.

It says: "An adequate supply of wholesome drinking water shall be provided or made available at readily accessible and suitable places."

An HSE spokesperson said contractors should pay particular attention to reassessing the risk associated with carrying out work in confined spaces. She added that contractors should consider the excessive working temperatures when allocating work.

Too much heat can strain the heart and lungs and cause dizziness

TUC spokesman

The spokesperson said: "The advice we are giving to companies and workers is to use common sense when working in the sun and to make sure there are adequate levels of water for all workers."

The HSE has issued a two-page guidance leaflet for workers. It stresses that workers should cover up with long-sleeved shirts and jeans, and avoid the temptation to remove clothing.

The guidance also advises staff to wear clothing made from close-woven fabric as this filters out most of the UV rays that can damage the skin.

Dos and don’ts for site workers

  • Avoid mild reddening: it is a sign of skin damage and an early sign of burning.

  • Take a break in the shade if you can: this will reduce the risk of harming your skin and help to keep you cool.

  • Continue to take care when you go on holiday as the skin remembers every exposure.

  • Don’t get complacent; get to know the most vulnerable area of your skin, for example, the back of your neck and head. Keep them covered.

  • Don’t try to get a tan. It indicates that the skin has been damaged. The risk of skin cancer is linked to prolonged exposure to the sun.