Adjusting to Work in Extreme Heat

Source: Fabio Coatti

Construction workers engage in extremely strenuous work, most often outdoors which can be a problem especially during the hot summer months.

As an outdoor worker you are at risk of developing skin cancer, and Oz in particular has recorded the highest numbers of skin cancer suffers in the world. It is there extremely important to safe guard yourself if you are working outdoors in the sun.

You also need to protect yourself against other side effects such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cramps etc.

High temperatures, high humidity, slow air movement and direct sunlight all combine to make the risk of working in the heat even greater.

  • Remember these tips when engaging in work outdoors or in extremely hot environments :
    Drink at least half a litre of water each hour, to replace the water lost during sweating
  • Wear the appropriate PPE like loose fit long sleeved shirts and sunhats.
  • Employers keep the work area well ventilated to provide a good flow of cool air, especially where work processes generate heat such as machinery.
  • When working outdoors, skin cancer is a major hazard so make sure to wear the appropriate PPE and take the necessary precautions such as wearing a hat and applying sunscreen.
  • Take frequent rest breaks and relax in a shaded rest area
  • Employers should provide free access to cool drinking water
  • Employers should also encourage the removal of personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss.
  • Educate workers about recognizing the early symptoms of heat stress
  • For outdoor workers reschedule work to cooler times of the day