Staying Safe during Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan ends on 3 June concluding with the celebration of Eid, and managers will be thinking about how best to support workers while ensuring high standards of health and safety during the holy period.
The holy month is a time of prayer, fasting and family gatherings, and with a Muslim community of some 3 million in the UK, many British workers will be affected. Organisations should be aware that health and safety risks may increase because of the effects of fasting. It can cause a lack of concentration and exhaustion, especially when combined with the traditional temperature increase as we head into summer in different parts of the world.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises employers to review risk assessments where there is any ‘significant change’ and the Chartered Management Institute also highlights the importance of reviewing health and safety arrangements in the context of Ramadan.
There are a number of work-related scenarios, especially in the construction and manufacturing industries, where fasting could be seen as a ‘significant change’. For example, workers engaged in manual labour, operating safety-critical machinery or working at height may be particularly affected by the effects of dehydration and fatigue and this could have serious health and safety implications.
This means organisations will need to plan their workload to mitigate against the risks. Some useful tips to avoid potential incidents include:
- Plan work activities accordingly to accommodate for reduced hours, annual leave requests, extra breaks and rest times
- Shift intellectually demanding or safety critical tasks to the morning when workers are most attentive and routine tasks to later in the day
- Show tolerance on reduced productivity levels
- Increase awareness on the warning signs of fatigue and dehydration
- Ensure adequate supervision is provided to all employees and try to avoid lone working
- Increase employee engagement to encourage your employees to be open if they are feeling any adverse effects
- Plan for summer working and ensure workers rest indoors during the hottest part of the day
- Ensure suitable arrangements for first aid or medical assistance in case of emergency.
Stay safe and Ramadan Kareem!
For more information, please contact Kathryn Turner