Skip to content
All of our products are manufactured here in the UK. Bulk discount available on large orders, contact our sales team for more information.
All of our products are manufactured here in the UK. Bulk discount available on large orders, contact our sales team for more information.
Five myths about working in high temperatures exposed

Five myths about working in high temperatures exposed

Summer working myth buster: how to stay cool when working outdoors

As the temperatures rise, so do concerns about working in the heat and for those in manual labour jobs, the summer months can be particularly challenging.

With approximately 3.1 million people working in the construction industry alone, a huge portion of the UK’s workforce are likely to be severely affected by the heat due to the predominately outdoor nature of their jobs.  

That’s why we’ve decided to set the record straight and debunk several common myths surrounding working outdoors in high temperatures, as well as providing the correct advice for working safely in the heat.

Myth 1: There's a Maximum Legal Temperature for Work

Contrary to popular belief, there is no legally mandated maximum temperature at which work must cease in the UK. However, employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their employees, which includes providing a comfortable working environment.

This responsibility is enshrined in health and safety regulations, which stipulate that employers must take action to reduce the risks associated with working in extreme heat. Measures such as providing shade, ensuring regular breaks, and offering cool drinking water are all expected as standard from employers to

Myth 2: Staff Can Adapt Their Clothing Freely

While it might seem logical to wear lighter and more breathable clothing in the heat, the choice of work attire is often governed by safety regulations. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial in the vast majority of manual labour jobs, and altering this equipment to stay cool can compromise safety.

Employers should provide PPE that is designed for hot weather, such as breathable fabrics and ventilated helmets, to ensure workers can stay both safe and cool. This would allow workers to carry out their daily tasks without sacrificing comfort during the hotter months.

Myth 3: Drinking Hot Drinks Cools You Down

The notion that drinking hot beverages can help cool the body in hot weather is a widespread myth. The theory suggests that hot drinks can induce sweating, which in turn cools the body as the sweat evaporates.

However, this effect is minimal and can actually lead to increased body temperature. Instead, drinking cool or room-temperature water regularly is more effective in staying hydrated without overheating.

Myth 4: It's Not Possible to Overhydrate

While staying hydrated is crucial in hot weather, it is indeed possible to drink too much water, leading to a condition known as hyponatremia. This occurs when the balance of salt and water in your body is disrupted.

To avoid this, drink water consistently throughout the day rather than drinking lots in one sitting, and consider beverages with electrolytes, especially if you’re sweating heavily. These drinks help replenish both fluids and essential minerals lost through sweat.

Myth 5: Tanning Isn’t Bad for Your Skin

A tan might be seen as a healthy glow, but it’s actually a sign of skin damage. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause short-term effects like sunburn and long-term effects such as premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.

To protect your skin, always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, wear protective clothing, and take breaks in the shade whenever possible.

Tips for Staying Cool

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink water consistently throughout the day. Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you.
  2. Dress Appropriately: Wear lightweight, light-coloured, and loose-fitting clothing when possible. Ensure that any required PPE is suitable for hot conditions.
  3. Take Regular Breaks: Schedule frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area to allow your body to cool down.
  4. Use Cooling Devices: Portable fans, cooling towels, and ice packs can help reduce body temperature during breaks.
  5. Monitor Your Health: Be aware of the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you experience symptoms like dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, or a rapid pulse, seek medical attention immediately.

Working in the summer heat presents unique challenges, but with the right knowledge and precautions, you can stay safe and cool. Don’t let myths misguide you; stay informed, stay prepared, and learn to recognise the signs of overheating and dehydration.

For more health and safety advice from our experts, take a look at our blogs.


Previous article The UK cities with the most night shift workers
Next article How much exercise does manual work provide?
Bespoke Order Enquiry
If you'd like to get in touch about a bespoke order, simply fill in the form below and a member of our team will get back to you.