Outdoor Workers Are Most Affected By Air Pollution In Hot Weather, Says Safety Group

Aug 23, 2019 • ManagementNewsfuture of field servicehealth and safety

British Safety Council welcomes regulator's guidance on working in hot weather and looks forward to its advice for outdoor employees working in polluted urban air.

The regulator in charge of implementing and enforcing UK health and safety legislation,The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued
advice on how to avoid overheating while working in hot conditions; a move welcomed by one of the UK's main safety groups.

Lawrence Waterman, Chairman of the British Safety Council, said: “The British Safety Council welcomes the HSE guidance on working in hot weather. However, similar guidance is needed in relation to outdoor workers who, as well as by heat, are affected by air pollution, particularly in Britain’s largest cities. They spend their working lives close to city traffic and pollution-emitting machinery.

“This issue is relevant not only today but for many years to come as weather in Britain appears to be permanently affected by climate change. Outdoor workers need to be protected from air pollution in hot weather more than any other group of workers. That’s why we need this advice now. We cannot fail them as we have done in relation to asbestos, which continues to cause harm and mount up the health bill.”

Outdoor workers are one of the most vulnerable professional groups in relation to air pollution. The findings of the recent trial conducted by the environmental charity Hubbub, monitoring air pollution exposure of people working or living in London, confirmed that outdoor workers are particularly affected by air pollution. For example, the site engineer at a construction site had air pollution exposure levels six times higher than that of the office worker. Of all the trial participants, the lorry driver had the highest overall exposure.

Furthermore, King’s College London, which draws on and analyses the data from the London Air Quality Network (LAQN), has recently reported that in hot weather the ozone levels in London are rising rapidly which has further adverse health implications.