Home Contractor's Corner New guide offers tips on how to stay safe in the sun

New guide offers tips on how to stay safe in the sun

After months of seemingly constant rain, it’s no surprise that contractors nationwide are taking advantage of the warmer weather and longer days to put in overtime on site this summer. But, for those working at height, it’s vital they take extra precautions and prioritise health and safety as the mercury soars. 

That’s why Werner, a ladder and access solutions provider, has put together a new guide containing a series of safety tips on how to stay safe while working in the sun.

Mark Robson, Product Manager at Werner, said: “There’s never been a better time for tradespeople to familiarise with the behaviours essential for maintaining optimum health and safety when working at height in the sun. By putting together this guide for tradespeople, we’re hoping to help take advantage of the better weather – without risking their health or livelihood in the process.”

Werner’s top tips include:

Stay safe in the heat: When focusing on getting the job done, it’s all too easy to forget to hydrate, which can cause dehydration and severe heatstroke. Alone, this is a huge risk to health. However, for those working at height a lack of hydration can mean danger is increased, due to the risk of falls if feeling drowsy, dizzy, or weak. 

Drink water at regular intervals: This helps to cool the body’s temperature and replaces the fluid that may be lost through sweating, reducing the risk of heat exhaustion, so it’s important to have fresh water readily available for all working on site.

Wear sunscreen: For those working outside and at height, sunscreen should be worn all year round. Even on cool or overcast days, harmful UV rays still penetrate cloud – and prolonged exposure to them can increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. The Health and Safety Executive found that construction workers are among the most ‘at risk’ of developing this form of cancer, so layering up with sunscreen is essential.

Wear suitable clothing: Using the PPE required to undertake a specific job is essential, so while it may be hot it is important not to make choices that will put safety at risk. However, there are types of clothing that can be worn to ensure maximum comfort when working at height in the heat. Clothing made from natural fibres, like cotton and linen, are made from compounds that allow the skin to breathe. Darker colours like navy and black absorb more heat. In contrast, whites and beiges deflect the sun’s wavelengths making them the most suitable choice in extreme temperatures.  

Create a solid foundation with equipment: Ensuring ladders have the correct classification is also important, as poorly made imports are a leading cause of injuries when working at height. This would be EN131 Professional for trade, heavy duty and industrial usages, purchasing a ladder that is to the EN131 standard means that users can have peace of mind it’s been manufactured and tested to ensure maximum safety.

Undertake risk assessments:  As a manufacturer, Werner is keen to encourage the importance of working at height safely in all conditions and has a number of guides on its website to advise users of ladder and access equipment best practices. 

When it comes to ladders the user must check the following for suitability and damage: 

  • Stiles 
  • Rungs  / Treads
  • Feet 
  • Braces & Cross Tubes 
  • Platforms 
  • Locking mechanisms 

Should a user find any signs of wear and tear, loosening, bending or lack of stability they must inform their employer straight away and they should not attempt to use the equipment under any circumstances. 

For broader information on ladder safety, which includes guides on how to choose the correct ladder for the task at hand, how to correctly inspect equipment and for general working from height guidance, visit www.wernerco.com/uk/ladder-safety

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