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News & Updates

Protect Your Employees From Heat Stress This Summer

There is nothing quite like a British Heatwave. But ensuring you stay safe in the middle of a heatwave is more than just SPF50 (though we highly recommend this at all times) You have a duty of care to ensure the safety of your staff, and effectively managing your facilities within your premises can help!

Our Compliance Manager Natalie Hurdwell shares a few tips for keeping your business and everyone that works there safe and well in the middle of a heatwave.

USE NATURAL AIR

Though air conditioning can be a fan favourite in heatwaves, fresh or natural air ventilation should be used wherever possible. Natural air ventilation can be achieved by simply opening a window or through mechanical means (i.e having an air conditioning system that was fitted with, or can be retrofitted with fresh air supply rather than recirculation). This will bring down the rate of infections in highly populated spaces and limit the spread of transmissible infections, including Covid-19. 

ENSURE YOUR AIR CONDITIONING IS CLEAN

If you’ve got air conditioning or ducted air handling, it must be regularly cleaned and serviced to ensure it works optimally. This is true both from an energy efficiency point of view and ensures that the air’s pollen, dust and bacteria are reduced. 

PAT TEST YOUR FANS AND COOLING TOWERS

Like gold dust in summer, desk fans and cooling towers are used all over offices and public spaces as the temperature rises. But be careful if you use cooling fans or tower fans in your workplace – make sure they are PAT Tested, avoid daisy-chaining the plugs, and check for trip hazards from trailing wires.

CHECK-IN ON YOUR TEAM WITH OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SCREENING

A robust occupational health screening programme will help you identify potential risk factors in your workforce. Some vulnerable workers might need reasonable adjustments or be more likely to require additional support in extreme heat. Occupational health screening is a proactive way of reducing absenteeism, identifying risks, and helping signpost your employees to pathways for extra help.

NO TWO PEOPLE ARE THE SAME

Everyone reacts to heat differently, and your employees should be trained to recognise the symptoms of heat illness. Regular occupational health surveillance or an effective employee wellbeing programme is a great platform to help you get the message across.

ENSURE YOUR ELECTRICS HAVE AN UP-TO-DATE (AND SATISFACTORY!) EICR

Overheating cables can be a risk in extreme heat – cables cannot carry their current capacity when it’s very hot and subsequently become a greater fire risk. Making sure you have a regular EICR with correct cabling identification will inform you of any potential for overloading – for any remedial advice, please call our electrical team.

Need help in the heatwave and beyond? Our team are here to help. To find out more information on anything we have discussed in this article, call our Compliance Team by calling 01427 420 404 or email compliance@skaltd.co.uk #OneOfTheTeam