Health and safety risks for people working outdoors
Ways of reducing the chance of accidents to employees who work outside, both on your premises and elsewhere by spotting and reducing health and safety risks
Staff who work regularly outdoors may face additional risks compared with their colleagues due to hazards such as the weather and uneven ground or pavements.
If they work outside at your premises there are a number of steps you might be able to take to reduce the risks. For example, you could ensure that the ground surface is flat and well maintained. You could also ensure there is sufficient lighting. Or you might lay down matting in areas that are likely to get slippery.
Remember to consider any outside areas of your premises when assessing the safety risks in your workplace. For more information on risk assessment, see health and safety risk assessment.
Workers who spend a lot of time outdoors are at risk of skin damage from ultraviolet rays in sunlight. People with fair skin are particularly at risk. Protect the skin when working outdoors by:
- wearing a high factor sunscreen
- wearing a hat and keeping your top on
- seeking shade when possible
It is important to check the skin regularly for abnormalities, such as moles that have changed. Consult a GP if your notice anything unusual. Download a guide on the health risks of working in the sun (PDF, 88.3KB).
If you have staff who work off-site - eg making deliveries in a van - it's far more difficult for you to control risks.
You can, however, ensure that employees are aware of the risks and are appropriately trained for their jobs. For example, a delivery person should be trained to lift and carry loads correctly, as poor handling can be a significant cause of injury. See safe manual handling at work.
If you provide workers to other businesses - eg agency workers - you will have a shared responsibility for their health and safety. You should ensure the other business has carried out an assessment of the risks. You may also decide it is appropriate to carry out your own risk assessment. You should share the findings with your worker and pass on any necessary information. See agency workers' health and safety.
Working alone can create extra health and safety risks. You should assess the potential risks to lone workers and take any necessary actions to reduce them. See ensure the safety of lone workers.