Hot weather construction site safety tips — Why welfare facilities on site are essential in the summer

The Met Office has confirmed the UK's highest temperature on record - a scorching 40.3° in Leicestershire on 19th July 2022. With more hot weather still to come this summer, dependable site welfare is more important than it has ever been.

In this article we'll take a look at how to stay cool in the summer, working outside...

The main threats to hot weather construction safety

Hotter weather can drastically impact on the health and safety of construction site conditions and their workers.

Carrying out a physical job, outside in hot weather can be very dangerous. Heatwave precautions must be taken to keep construction workers safe and comfortable during hot weather.

These are the main risks of working outside during spells of hot weather:

  • Heat stress leading to heat stroke: Workers may experience heat stress as a combination of heat from physical activity, environmental factors and their clothing. If heat stress isn't managed, it can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is probably one of the most common threats to the health of construction workers in summer. Heat stroke occurs when the body is overwhelmed and cannot regulate its temperature to cool itself down. Signs of heat stroke might include weakness, fatigue, dizziness, cramps, nausea or vomiting, a heat rash and a headache. A person suffering from heat stroke is likely to start sweating a lot. If a worker develops any symptoms of heat stroke then there are certain essential steps to follow. Rehydration with plenty of water and moving into a cool, shaded area will help. An electrolyte drink will replace lost fluids as well as sugar and salts. If the symptoms persist then you must seek medical treatment.
  • Sunburn: Workers can easily get sunburnt if they are exposed to the strong rays and aren't wearing sun cream or light clothing to protect their skin. If the sunburn is very severe, it might even require medical treatment.
  • Accidents caused by visibility: When the sun is blazing and high in the sky, it can reduce visibility. This may lead to an increase in the risk of an accident occurring. Construction workers should wear appropriate sunglasses to reduce glare.
  • Mechanical failures due to overheating: Certain equipment and machinery may be more prone to breaking down or malfunctioning when the temperatures on site are very high. It is important for everyone on a construction site to be aware of the risks associated with operating machinery when the weather is particularly hot.

How to stay cool in the summer, when working outside

Help avoid illness or injury on the construction site in summer by:

  • ensuring workers take regular shade and hydration breaks.
  • working in teams and avoiding lone workers.
  • reducing physical workload where possible.
  • wearing clothing that is breathable and allows sweat to evaporate to stay cooler.
  • avoiding working in direct sun, in the middle of the day.
  • creating a summer action plan for construction site health and safety so that workers know what to do in the case of an emergency.

What are the required welfare facilities for summer construction sites?

By law, employers are required to follow safety policies in order to keep their workers safe. Onsite welfare facilities that are fit for purpose are an essential fixture on the construction site, all year round.

The number of welfare facilities is scaled, depending on the size, location and length of the project, as well as team sizes. The size of teams and the number of toilets required will strongly influence the choice of welfare units, and the logistics of breaks will also influence this, as teams that take their breaks together will require larger welfare units to accommodate all workers at the same time.  

If break times are broken up into shifts, smaller canteen units can be used. At Welfare 4 Hire we offer units designed to accommodate 6, 10, 12 and 16 people at once, with one or two toilets included in the unit. Depending on the number of toilets required by law onsite, additional towable toilets can be added as a cost efficient way to increase toilet numbers onsite, with the additional advantage that these toilets can be placed at other points of the site, improving worker comfort.

Broadly speaking, the required welfare facilities are:

  • Toilets / sanitary conveniences
  • Washing facilities
  • Access to drinking water
  • Accommodation for drying and changing clothes
  • An area for rest and dining

Please click to view more information about the HSE's requirements for onsite facilities.

Maintain hot weather construction safety with our welfare facilities

Here at Welfare 4 Hire, we offer a range of mobile welfare units that are ideal for summer construction sites.

Our range of onsite welfare accommodation includes:

  • 6 person welfare unit - canteen and seating area for six people, toilet, drying room facilities
  • 10 person welfare unit with office - canteen and seating area for seven, toilet, drying room, and office space for three people
  • 12 person welfare unit - canteen and seating for 12 people, plus a toilet and drying room
  • 16 person welfare unit with office - canteen and seating area for 13, toilet, drying room, and office space for three people
  • 1 + 1 mobile toilets - self-contained unisex toilet cubicles

Our convenient portable welfare cabins are the ideal solution for construction sites at any time of the year. Our welfare units are fully compliant with UK health and safety laws and all come with a valid electrical installation test certificate.

Quality welfare units, whatever the weather

We hope our article has provided some helpful guidance on how to stay cool in the summer, when working outside. We're proud to offer a range of modern welfare units that are fully kitted out and ideal for construction teams during the hot summer months. With depots located in London, the Midlands, Gloucester, the North West and North East, we are proud to be able to provide nationwide welfare cabin hire services to suit projects of all sizes. We are proud to provide services in Scotland and Wales, so please feel free to get in touch, whatever your location. 

If you'd like to discuss welfare units for your construction workers, please call us today on: 020 3846 1111. A member of our team will be happy to answer any questions or provide advice. We look forward to hearing from you.