Tips for a Healthy and Safe Workplace in the Summer

fresh air fan in the sunshine

by Manon Morelli, Customer Success and Marketing Associate with Healthy Place To Work®

Summer is definitely here, depending on where you live, working conditions can be tough. This is particularly true with Ireland and Europe experiencing a heat wave at the moment. Temperatures are rising and long exposure to the sun can be dangerous. In this article, we give you a few tips to keep your people healthy and safe during summertime, and some ways to combat high temperatures in the workplace.

  1. Keep the workplace cool when possible

If the workplace is an indoor space (such as an office, a shop, a lab or a warehouse), then you should think about keeping it reasonably cool. If your workplace is equipped with air conditioning, why not get ahead of the arguments and get consensus on getting the temperature right. If you don’t have access to air conditioning, we still have some solutions for you : you can invest in some branded electric fans, think about how to keep spaces shaded from direct sunlight or keep the windows open for the air to circulate.

  1. Stay hydrated

When temperatures are getting high, it can be easy to get dehydrated quickly especially while working as you don’t necessary think about drinking regularly. Dehydration can bring on a dangerous state and body symptoms like vomiting, fainting and sometimes an urgent need to be hospitalised. To avoid that kind of situation, make sure to pop up some reminders for people to get their liquids in! During summer and warm days make sure your employees keep drinking enough and provide them fresh drinks when possible. Water is ideal at this time of the year, but any fresh drink like juices, iced teas and coffees will do the job too.

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  1. Provide appropriate equipment

This is especially important if any of your people are working outside and exposed to high temperatures and the sun all day, such as construction workers. When temperatures are getting high, make sure to provide them with adapted, comfortable, and lighter equipment. Do not forget to provide them with a cap and encourage your people to use a SPF sun cream for protection (with a minimum of SPF 30). In many companies, a dress code is required, especially in industries like hospitality or finance. It can be nice to make it relaxed during this warmer time of the year.

  1. Insect bites and allergies

During summertime, insect stings and bites are more frequent. Peoples reactions to their bites can be different from one to another. Sometimes it can be just a little mark on your body that disappears quite quickly, but sometimes you can develop an allergic reaction bringing to skin rashes, itching, fever and in the worst-case hospitalisation. That is why it is important to always keep a first aid kit containing an antiseptic, and antihistamines to treat them in the workplace so it is available to anyone that could need it. Natural insect repellent sprays such as lemongrass can be useful as well.

  1. Encourage your employees to take regular breaks

In our previous blogs, we often mentioned the fact that, as a healthier manager, you should always encourage your team members to take their regular breaks during the day. It is especially the case during summertime as your team members can feel tired quicker when temperatures increase. As their leader, you should remind them to take their break in a cool and refreshed space or in the shade (for outdoor and construction workers) and to provide them fresh drinks all day long. And you should show the right example too.

  1. Eat fresh food and keep your food refrigerated

When temperatures are getting high outside and inside, the only thing you wish is to eat fresh food  and have fresh drinks : salads and other cold food are ideal (and good for your health too by the way). Also, make sure to remind your team members to keep their meals in the fridge to avoid the development of bacteria and getting sick.

During summertime, it would be a nice gesture toward them to provide some fresh food such as fruit or ice cream in the workplace.   

  1. Reschedule tasks

Being a healthier manager also means being flexible with your team members but also with your plans too. During summertime, with the increase in temperatures, some tasks can be hard to perform, especially for outdoor workers who are exposed to difficult conditions on an ongoing basis. In this case, be sensible and rethink about a plan to get those tasks rescheduled later in the year when temperatures go down again. You can also take into account those kind of situations in advance and think your plans earlier in the year in order to avoid difficult outdoor tasks during summer.

About the author

Manon Morelli is a Customer Success and Marketing Associate with Healthy Place To Work® Ireland. She has worked in both customer success and marketing teams in multiple locations around the world, including Ireland, USA and France.

Manon has worked in a range of industries, including hospitality and real estate, and has worked with both established brands and within start up environments. She brings both expert insight and enthusiasm to her role, supporting organisations throughout their Healthy Place to Work® journey.

She is a Communication and Media Graduate, having completed her Masters in Marketing & Communication in 2019.