Preventing Heat Stress in Hot Working Conditions
The hot weather has arrived! But, before you become complacent and enjoy the summer days, you should consider the importance of implementing a workplace heat management plan that will prevent you and your employees becoming a victim of heat stress.
Working in hot and humid weather can lead to serious health issues if steps are not in place to prevent the condition. Whether your workplace conducts its operations in an indoor or outdoor environment you should always remain proactive during the hot weather. Australia is renowned for its extremely hot summers so protecting your employees from the harsh Australian sun is extremely important for their health and for the business as a whole.
What is Heat Stress?
Heat stress occurs when an individual’s body temperature dangerously overheats due to prolonged exposure to hot or humid weather. Although heat stress is more prominent amongst outdoor workers, it can often affect indoor workers too. Poorly ventilated areas, non-protective clothing and hot areas (e.g. warehouses) can be common factors that result in heat stress.
|Symptoms of Heat Stress|
Preventing Heat Stress
|Stay Hydrated||Drink plenty of water. Also consider fluid and electrolyte replacement solutions such as Aqualyte. Avoid alcohol and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.|
|Limit Physical Activity||Too much physical activity during a hot day can lead to heat stress. If possible, schedule hot jobs and activities to cooler parts of the day.|
|Acclimatisation||Acclimatise workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments.|
|Avoid Exposure to Heat||Stay out of the sun as much as possible and if you must be outdoors, remember to protect yourself. Don't forget to 'slip, slop, slap'.|
|Keep Your Energy Levels Up||Eat smaller meals more often and cold meals such as salads or similar.|
|Training and Education||Ensure that workers are well educated to recognise symptoms and treat symptoms of heat stress should they arise. In an emergency, call 000 or your local doctor.|
|Monitor Workers and Working Conditions||
Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers as well as the general environment. Personal and area heat stress monitors are extremely useful to help prevent the onset of heat stress.
Air-Met offers a range of heat stress monitor solutions that you can find here.
|Stay Cool||Keep air circulating around you. Where possible, use air conditioning. Wet towels, cool showers and proper ventilation are also advised to help keep your body temperature down.|
|Protection||When working outdoors remember to wear protective clothing and sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.|
|Managing the Risks of Working in Heat (Safe Work Australia)||View|
|WorkSafe VIC Working In Heat Guidance Note||View|
|SafeWork NSW Hot And Cold Work Environments||View|
|WorkCover QLD Workplace Hazards: Heat Stress||View|
|WorkSafe WA Working Safely In Hot Conditions||View|
|SafeWork SA Working In Hot Environments||View|
|WorkSafe ACT Working In Hot And Cold Environments||View|
|WorkSafe TAS Working In Heat Guidance Note||Download|
|WorkSafe NT Working In Heat Bulletin||Download|
|Bureau of Meteorology - Understanding the UV Index||View|
For more information, please click here or call 1800 000 744 to speak to one of our friendly representatives.