Driver Knowledge Tests

What are the risks of working as a driver or machine operator in hot weather?

Working as a driver or machine operator in hot weather poses several risks to health and safety. Here are some potential risks and measures that can be taken to mitigate them.


One of the most significant risks is dehydration due to excessive sweating and inadequate fluid intake. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and decreased cognitive function.

Preventive measures: Encourage drivers and machine operators to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if they do not feel thirsty. Provide access to water and electrolyte-replacing drinks. Schedule regular breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas for hydration.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms include headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and even loss of consciousness.

Preventive measures: Educate workers about the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Implement a buddy system to monitor each other for signs of distress. Provide shaded rest areas or air-conditioned cabins for breaks. Schedule work tasks during cooler times of the day, if possible. Ensure that air conditioning works in vehicles.

Sunburn and skin damage

Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn, premature ageing of the skin, and an increased risk of skin cancer. The sun can heat metal surfaces hot enough to cause superficial burns if naked skin comes into contact with it.

Preventive measures: Encourage workers to wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection. Use sunscreen with a high SPF rating and reapply it regularly, especially if sweating heavily. Consider providing shade structures or installing sunshades on machinery.

Decreased concentration and performance

High temperatures can impair cognitive function and physical performance, leading to an increased risk of accidents and errors.

Preventive measures: Implement a heat acclimatisation program to allow workers to gradually adapt to working in hot conditions. Rotate tasks to minimize exposure to direct sunlight and intense heat. Provide training on heat stress awareness and coping strategies.

Equipment malfunction

High temperatures can affect the performance and reliability of machinery and vehicles, leading to breakdowns or accidents. High temperatures can worsen fuel economy.

Preventive measures: Conduct regular maintenance checks on equipment to ensure proper functioning. Monitor engine temperatures and fluid levels closely. Implement a system for reporting and addressing any issues promptly.

By implementing appropriate preventive measures and promoting a culture of safety and awareness, employers can help mitigate the risks associated with working as a driver or machine operator in hot weather.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

Posted in Advice