Plant Hire Tips

Summer action plan for construction sites: Optimising hired-in plant and equipment

A summer action plan for construction sites includes crucial steps to ensure the regular maintenance of hired plant machinery and equipment

A summer action plan for construction sites is non-negotiable when it comes to safely and successfully managing and completing a domestic or commercial building project. While the favourable weather conditions allow for swifter progress, summer can pose a number of construction site challenges that demand careful consideration.

This blog will outline the challenges that soaring temperatures coupled with humidity and intense sunlight can have on construction sites and specific actions you can take to overcome them.

Assessing summer’s impact on construction projects

Understanding the true impact of summer on your construction project starts with recognising the potential hazards for both plant machinery and equipment, as well as operators.

Potential hazards for plant machinery and equipment

  • Extended operating hours – longer daylight hours and favourable weather conditions mean extended operating hours for construction projects, placing additional strain on plant hire equipment. Increased usage can accelerate wear and tear on machinery.
  • Heat related stress and increased risk of fire – higher temperatures place greater heat-related stress on plant hire equipment, leading to overheating of engines, hydraulic systems and other components, increasing the risk of mechanical failures or fire.
  • Reduced efficiency – extreme heat can affect the performance and efficiency of plant hire equipment, leading to decreased productivity and longer project timelines.
  • Dust and debris – dry weather conditions in summer can result in dusty work environments, which can affect the performance and longevity of plant hire equipment. Dust and debris accumulation can clog air filters, cooling systems and engine components.
  • UV damage – intense sunlight can cause UV damage to exposed surfaces of plant hire equipment, such as plastic degradation and rubber deterioration.

Risks faced by operators

  • Heat exhaustion and heat stroke – prolonged exposure to higher temperatures can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions if not addressed promptly.
  • Dehydration – working in hot conditions can cause rapid fluid loss, leading to dehydration, which can impair cognitive function and physical performance, increasing risks for plant operators.
  • Sunburn and UV exposure – extended exposure to sunlight without proper protection can result in sunburn, skin damage and possible long-term health risks, such as skin cancer.
  • Electrical malfunctions – higher temperatures can strain machinery and equipment, increasing the likelihood of mechanical failures, breakdowns or fire hazards, which can endanger plant operators and other workers on the construction site.
  • Fatigue –  working in hot and humid conditions can be physically demanding and exhausting, leading to fatigue among plant operators, which can impair judgement, coordination and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.

Formulate a summer safety plan for construction sites

To mitigate the potentially adverse effects of the warmer months on your construction project, establish a robust summer safety plan. The steps below outline how to develop a comprehensive programme:

Step 1. Assess and prioritise the potential hazards that are specific to your site: For instance, larger sites require a substantial array of machinery and equipment. Coordinating regular maintenance across all machinery can prove challenging without a well-structured schedule.

Step 2. Develop a daily action plan: Based on the identified hazards, formulate a detailed daily action plan outlining specific measures to mitigate risks. This plan should include tasks, timelines, responsibilities and resources required for each action.

Step 3. Allocate resources: Ensure that necessary resources, including personnel, equipment, materials and budget, are allocated to implement the daily action plan effectively.

Step 4. Establish schedules: Develop schedules and timelines for each daily action to ensure tasks are completed in a timely manner. Consider factors such as work hours, weather forecasts, equipment availability and project deadlines when setting schedules.

Step 5. Obtain approvals: Present the daily action plan to project stakeholders, including management, supervisors and relevant authorities, for review and approval. Obtain feedback and address any concerns or recommendations before finalising the plan.

Step 6. Monitor progress: Monitor the implementation of the daily action plan closely to ensure tasks are being carried out as scheduled and that risk mitigation measures are effective.

Step 7. Document activities: Keep detailed records of daily actions taken to mitigate hazards, including completed tasks, observations, incidents and any deviations from the plan.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) specifies all safety practices that need to be followed when using plant machinery. Read our blog covering the most essential parts here.

Essential summer safety tips for construction workers

Checklist for protecting plant machinery and operators

Pre-start checks:

  • Inspect all equipment before operation for visible signs of damage, leaks, or wear
  • Check fluid levels, including engine oil, coolant, hydraulic fluid and fuel, and top up as needed
  • Verify the functionality of safety features and emergency shutoffs
  • Test brakes, steering, lights, alarms and other essential systems
  • Check tyres and tracks for punctures and condition

Heat management and UV protection:

  • Provide shaded rest areas for equipment operators
  • Encourage operators to wear protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Plan work tasks to reduce exposure during periods of peak UV radiation and extreme temperatures
  • Ensure adequate hydration stations are available for operators
  • Implement heat safety protocols, including training on recognizing and responding to heat-related illnesses
  • Provide ample ventilation and air flow in indoor work spaces

Dust control:

  • Implement dust suppression measures, such as enclosures or barriers, to minimise airborne dust and debris
  • Clean air filters and check ventilation systems
  • Use water trucks, sprinklers, or dust control agents to dampen surfaces as needed
  • Provide respiratory protection, such as PPE (personal protective equipment) for workers in dusty environments

Cooling system maintenance:

  • Regularly inspect cooling systems for signs of leakage, damage, or corrosion
  • Check coolant levels and top up or replace coolant as needed
  • Clean radiators, air filters and cooling fins to ensure optimal airflow
  • Test cooling system components, such as thermostats and water pumps, for proper function

Greasing and lubrication:

  • Grease and lubricate moving parts, bearings and pivot points according to manufacturer recommendations
  • Use high-temperature grease or lubricants for components exposed to heat
  • Check lubrication points regularly and replenish grease as needed
  • Inspect seals and gaskets for signs of wear or leaks and replace as necessary



Reducing your maintenance burden

Working with a plant machinery and equipment hire expert such as Rabbit Plant Hire ensures you have access to experienced staff members who can provide guidance and recommendations on equipment selection, usage and safety measures specific to summer construction projects.

At Rabbit Plant Hire, we take pride in the range and quality of our 300+ strong plant machinery and equipment. We maintain a rigorous maintenance programme, ensuring that all plants are in excellent working order when they arrive on your construction site. When combined with a well-designed summer action plan for construction sites, our top-tier machinery guarantees the seamless progress of your project.

Continuing construction through winter?Learn more about operating and maintaining plant machinery and equipment during the colder months by reading our full guide here.

Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is an established and expert supplier of plant hire for commercial and domestic building projects throughout Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

To find out more about Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire’s plant hire services contact our expert and friendly team on 01903 851957 or

Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is part of The Rabbit Group of companies, which includes Rabbit Demolition, Rabbit Skip Hire and Rabbit Toilet Hire.