Risk Assessments When Working Outdoors

As an employer, you need to make sure that your business, no matter whether it is an SME or a large organisation, keeps up to date with current UK Health and Safety Regulations.  If your workplace is outdoors, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration so that your staff can work in a safe environment.

One factor to consider when working outdoors is the weather. The weather can have a huge impact upon your employees productivity which is why Risk Assessments are required to manage these environments effectively.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A Risk Assessment is a systematic process of evaluating the potential risks that may be involved in a projected activity or undertaking. You can assess the possible risks in a workplace by identifying hazards, deciding who may be harmed, evaluating risks, recording significant findings and continuing to review this process.

Support from a Health and Safety Consultant

With support from a company such as Wirehouse who specialise in Health and Safety, Risk Assessments and Employment Law, you can work together to formulate comprehensive Risk Assessments that are specifically tailored to your industry.

This will include checklists to make sure that nothing is overlooked, comprehensive training can be provided to help you carry out Risk Assessments, develop an effective risk management strategy and overall keep you up to date with all current Health and Safety legislations.

Working in Outdoor Environments – Effective Risk Assessments

For contractors, builders, farmers and a whole range of other industries that are based outdoors all year round, there are Health and Safety Risk Assessments that need to be undertaken by the employer.

  • Ensure that the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is issued, including warm clothing, waterproofs and hard hats.
  • When the weather is especially cold you should encourage your staff to drink plenty of warm drinks and stay out of the cold in appropriate facilities.Before your employees begin working in cold environments, you should make sure that they are fully educated on cold stress and the possible symptoms to look out for.
  • If outdoor temperatures are exceptionally hot then make sure that there are shaded rest areas available. Also consider educating workers on removing any personal protective equipment when resting to reduce heat loss and encourage them to take on fluids by drinking more water.
  • Train staff members in case of emergency or change of environment, and supervise the location to ensure the precautions you have introduced are adhered to.

The HSE have produced a document which outlines how work environments need to be evaluated using Risk Assessments. Specifically with outdoor work they identify that employers who are assessing both hot and cold outdoor environments needed to consider personal and environmental factors.

Personal factors include the activity or task being completed, the amount and type of clothing an employee needs to wear and the duration of the exposure. Environmental factors highlighted by the HSE which should be considered are temperature, radiant heat and weather conditions.

By evaluating any workplace risks and putting appropriate Risk Assessments in place you will ensure that your business and employees are fully prepared for working in outdoor environments.


Latest Issue

BDC 309 : Oct 2023