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Managing Heat Stress

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Managing Heat Stress

On February 5, 2018, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

Workers can suffer from heat stress when they are exposed to too much heat, usually too much hot sun. Heat stress can interfere with the ability to work safely, and potentially cause injury. Heat stress can be hard to realise because it is disorientating, making it hard to recognise symptoms.

  • Common indicators for Heat Stress are:

  • Headaches, dizziness, wonky vision

  • Loss of concentration

  • Loss of ability to do skilled tasks

  • Weakness, muscle cramps, feeling short of breath

  • Heavy sweating, intense thirst

  • Nausea, vomiting

  • Heart palpitations

  • Tingling and/or numbness in the hands and feet

Heat Stress is a recognised workplace hazard

Employees have a duty to take effective measures to protect their workers from heat stress, whether the workers are inside or outside.

What can employers do to control Heat Stress?

  • Allow for frequent rest brakes, ideally in a cool or well-ventilated area

  • Plan to do less physically demanding jobs when it’s hottest

  • If possible, move tasks indoors or in the shade

  • Use fans and air conditioning when inside buildings

  • Implement emergency procedures to be prepared to help workers with heat stress

 

7 tips for working in hot weather

  1. Carry a water bottle

Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink. By then you’re probably already dehydrated. Carry a water bottle or hydration pack and sip at least half a litre an hour – more if it’s really hot.

 

  1. Allow for more breaks

Adjust the schedule to include more frequent breaks or consider letting workers set their own work/rest schedule. Make sure workers can rest in the shade, and use fans or air-conditioning in crew huts and vehicles.

 

  1. Schedule the hardest work in the coolest part of the day

If that’s not possible, try to share the load by rotating workers. Adjust the schedule so workers can work in the shade as much as possible.

 

  1. What colour is your pee?

If it is light you’re hydrated and good to go. If it’s dark, you need to drink more.

 

  1. Avoid caffeine

It will dehydrate you. Avoid coffee, tea and energy drinks before and during your shift.

 

  1. Eat right

Make sure you eat well – have three good meals a day, along with regular snacks. Food contains water as well as giving you energy. Keep your energy up by eating foods like whole meal bread, nuts, lean protein, fruit and veggies.

 

  1. Slip, slop, slap and wrap!

Wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Cover up with loose-fitting clothes made of light fabrics – cotton will keep you cooler than synthetics. Make sure helmets have flaps and visors.

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