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Surviving Summer: Tips for Scaffolders Beating the Summer Heat!

Working on and around scaffolding already comes with many potential hazards. From handling tricky equipment and working at height, safety is never guaranteed. As the seasons change, we have to adapt to the changing health and safety precautions as the hot and extreme weather conditions can not only increase hazard frequency but also create new dangers. Recently, the UK has experienced uncommonly high temperatures of 30 degrees and above, can we believe it, which has also triggered a warning from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for construction industry bosses to safeguard their workers during the hot weather this summer.

You should always take care when working on scaffolding, but as is the nature of the job, you are likely to spend almost all of the day working outside. Working long hours can become more strenuous in the heat and so it is important to take proper care when this intense weather hits. Here are some of the top safety tips from the No1 Scaffolding team when working with scaffolding in the summer weather:

Wear SPF:

As a scaffolder, it is natural that you spend almost all of the day outside. Meaning you are constantly exposed to prolonged heat and UV radiation. On a hot summer’s day, this could mean you can catch sunstroke or sunburn. The key to ensuring you protect yourself against these heat related illnesses is by regularly applying high factor sun cream.

The NHS website recommends that for those exposed to prolonged sun exposure, you should use a sun cream with at least an SPF 30 to protect against UVB and reapply every 2 hours.

Take Breaks:

Scaffolding can consist of long hours of high intensity physical work, which in high temperatures can cause you to overheat much faster. Be sure to take regular breaks in a cool and shady area, preferable indoors, to recharge and recover during a long day’s work.

Wear Protective PPE:

Another measure to help protect against prolonged sun exposure is to make sure you are dressed for the occasion. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, working in direct sunlight and wearing heavy PPE each can add up to 15 degrees to any given heat index! In summer weather and when working in construction, it is important to protect your head, whether it is with a safety helmet or with a sun cap to shield your head from the sun. In construction you should always be wearing safety PPE, but to avoid putting yourself at risk of overheating, you can switch to a more breathable hard hat option designed for the summer months.

Stay Hydrated:

When working in hot temperatures, it’s important to stay hydrated. As a scaffolder you will quickly become dehydrated due to the high level of energy exertion. Dehydration may make it harder for your workers to focus, making them more prone to injury and accidents. Make sure there is plenty of water on site and encourage your workers to take regular water breaks.

Be Wary of Slipping:

In the winter you must take care when you are walking or standing due to slippery floors or surfaces, while surfaces may be dryer during warmer weather, slipping is still very much a hazard in the summer time. When working in intense heat, your hands can become clammy and slippery. This can also occur when you regularly apply sun cream, which can also make your hands slippery, which may cause a scaffolding part or tool to easily slip out of your hand and potentially injure you or a colleague. To tackle this, you can wear lightweight, breathable scaffolders gloves, to ensure you maintain grip when carrying tools around the site.

Safety on the scaffold should always be the no. 1 priority. The No1 team recommend that you keep these summer scaffolding safety tips in mind when out working on site.

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