Workplace safety in the summer months

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The summer months can be a busy or slow time depending on where you work. But regardless of whether staff are working hard or slipped into cruise mode it’s important a focus remains on keeping the office and worksites safe.

Business.govt.nz recommends the following tips for keeping the workplace free of accidents and staff safe:
  1. Keep the workplace temperature under control: When the mercury rises people can become uncomfortable, feel tired and irritable which can not only lead to a loss of productivity but make them more stressed and more likely to make mistakes.
While not every workplace has air conditioning there are steps that can be taken to improve comfort during the hotter days: Try allowing staff to take shorter, more frequent breaks; revise uniform requirements to ensure staff remain comfortable; place indoor machinery or equipment in well-ventilated areas and in offices try to increase ventilation by using fans or opening doors and windows.
  1. Stay hydrated: Hydration is key in the summer months to not only avoid health problems but to keep alert. Staff should be encouraged to drink regular, small amounts of water and made aware of the signs of dehydration such as fatigue, feeling disorientated, irritated or confused – especially those who work outdoors.
To prevent dehydration drink plenty of water and avoid drinks with high sugar content, consider altering work schedules, so heavier work is completed during cooler times of the day, make sure outdoor workers have access to adequate shade and allow for rest breaks to be taken in cooler, shaded areas.
  1. Be aware of visitors and children in the workplace and keep them safe: It’s not uncommon over the summer months to have family members stop by the workplace or have staff bring their kids into work during school holidays. However, these people need to be kept safe. Some businesses are legally required to restrict children less than 15 years of age from visiting certain areas of premises. Ensure any visitors are aware of safety protocols.
 
  1. Employing or contracting children: Some businesses hire children over the school holiday period to complete basic duties. As with children visiting workplaces there are restrictions on children under the age of 15 that state they cannot be employed or be engaged as contractors in manufacturing businesses, construction, or logging or tree felling operations. However, children can work in the office or any retail areas of these businesses. For workplaces that keep late hours, children under the age of 16 cannot work between 10pm and 6am.

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