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Sun and Safety on Construction Sites: Protecting Our Workers

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As the sun finally graces us with its presence during the very last few days of summer, construction sites across the nation begin preparing for a presumably damp autumn. While the British sun may not always be scorching, the combination of high temperatures and outdoor work poses significant sun and heat-related risks for construction operatives. In today’s blog, we will explore the critical aspects of sun and heat safety on construction sites, and offer a few practical solutions for safeguarding your operatives on site.

Understanding Sun and Heat Risks in the UK:


The first few hot days of a heat wave and be the worst and can have a profound impact on your operatives as they get used to the change in temperature. Make sure you schedule jobs to allow your teams to gradually build up a tolerance to the heat, preventing a shock to their systems.

Strategic Scheduling

Plan any heavy-duty work for the cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings. Productivity is likely to be down during the hottest parts of the day, and scheduling around this can be the most effective way to optimise your team’s performance in hot weather.

Job Rotation

Combat heat exhaustion by rotating workers between physically strenuous tasks and lighter duties. On exceptionally hot days, consider scheduling more operations to maintain productivity while factoring in additional breaks.


Make sure workers are hydrating regularly, ideally every 15 minutes or more on extremely hot days. Keep water bottles easily accessible, slow down, and take breaks when necessary. Provide water stations, umbrellas and gazebos for shade, and fans in break areas.

Heat Exhaustion Awareness

Educate your team to recognise the signs of heat-related illnesses, including cramping, confusion, excessive sweating, dizziness, or light-headedness. Vigilance is crucial in preventing severe heat sickness. You can find out more about heat-related illnesses here.

Have a Plan

A well-thought-out emergency plan can literally save a life. Ensure you have an ample supply of water and ice packs on the site. Make sure everyone knows the location of these resources in case of emergencies. If anyone shows any symptoms of heat-related illness, make sure they know the process of reporting to a supervisor so they can receive the proper care.

The experts say:

“The UK may not have the hottest climate, but workers should not underestimate the sun’s power to cause harm.” — Dr. Sarah Brewer, a UK-based medical director.

– “Preventing heat-related illnesses requires vigilance and preparedness,” Dr. Mark Lebwohl, President of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Protecting your operatives from sun and heat-related risks is not just about keeping them comfortable; it’s a matter of safety and well-being. By implementing and practising these measures and fostering a culture of sun and heat safety, construction companies can ensure their workforce remains healthy and productive during hot weather.

September feels like a strange time to be giving out sun safety advice but there it is! Together, let’s build a safer, healthier, and sunnier construction industry

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