Workers Warned of Extreme Heat Dangers

Source: Pixabay.com

A warning has been issued to workers about the dangers of working in high heat environments.

Although the reminder was issued by The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, it is a warning that people in construction trades should also heed.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Director Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn  supervisors and workers need to understand the risks and symptoms of heat stress and report any signs to a supervisor.

Workers and employers must remember the seriousness of the issue, heat stroke can cause permanent brain damage as well as damage to other vital organs and possibly death.

People suffering from heat-related illnesses must get urgent medical treatment.

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/11/warning-issued-dangers-working-extreme-heat/#.W_uYKeIlE1k

Tips To Beat The Heat

Summer is in full swing and the temperatures are hotter than ever. If you’re going back to work this week on the building site, you’ll want to ensure you’re keeping safe in the heat to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat stress and heat stroke.

Here are the most important things to remember:

  1. Keep well hydrated. When working in a hot environment, you can lose a litre of fluids every hour.
  2. Take frequent breaks in the shade and work alternating shifts to avoid any single person being in the sun the entire day. This will help you avoid heat stroke, of which 80 per cent of cases are fatal.
  3. Always wear a high SPF sunscreen and wear light coloured, thin, loose clothing.
  4. Keep track of the weather by listening to weather alerts on the radio and television, then prepare accordingly.
Remember that heat is responsible for more deaths in Australia than any natural disaster, so working safely is important.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/11/beat-heat-summer-safety-tips-workers/#.WGE4gVz-m-c

Heat Claims the Life a Worker in Roma, Queensland

Working in the heat is more than just a matter or mere inconvenience or discomfort, it is a matter of safety as an incident in Roma, Queensland this month has proven. A 38 year old man suffered from a heat stroke and died, according to a report by SafetyCulture.com.au. Read what the website had to say about the incident below:

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A man who died after falling ill at a site on the outskirts of Roma in Queensland is suspected to have suffered from heat stroke.

According to ABC News, paramedics were called to treat the 38-year-old worker at the site in Mooga. He suffered from a heart attack on the way to the hospital and was dead on arrival.

Ongoing investigations are being conducted to confirm the cause of the man’s death.

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/12883/

This is just one example of any number of bad situations workers can find themselves in the summer heat. The reason why construction workers are more at risk than others is because of the nature of the work which generates heat and the nature of the environment, namely an outdoor one, often without shade or good air ventilation.

One of the biggest problems with heat related hazards is that workers underestimate the severity of the consequences. Very few workers would have anticipated dying from a heat stroke when they left for work in the morning, but this is exactly the predicament the builder in Roma found himself in.

There are a few golden rules to follow when working outdoors in the heat or even indoors on construction sites during hot weather,

  • Employers must provide workers with cool, clean drinking water and encourage workers to stay hydrated throughout the day especially in summer.

Workers must ensure that they take breaks and drink water frequently throughout the day.

  • Employers, ensure that workers are provided with the PPE necessary

Workers must make sure they utilise PPE correctly and keep it in good condition.

  • Employers should attempt to draw up a roster so that workers can take turns working in the sun. Work in the extreme heat and direct sunlight should only be done if absolutely necessary and hours when the sun is not at its peak at midday.
  • Workers who begin to feel light headed or dizzy should increase their water intake as these could be signs of dehydration. Also take a break out of the sun in a cool, shaded area. Don’t operate heavy equipment or engage in dangerous tasks until you are back to normal.
  • Employers and site’s planners should ensure the site is properly ventilated to provide a good flow of cool air. This is especially important where work processes generate heat such as machinery and particularly in confined spaces.
  • Workers engaged in outdoor work are more prone to skin cancer especially in Oz where we have the highest number of people suffering from skin cancer in the world.  They must wear a sun hat, clothing to cover their arms and an appropriate, high SPF sunblock.
  • Employers should arrange work schedules for machinery that generate a lot of heat, especially within a confined space so that they are not all working at the same time.
  • If working on a roof or scaffolding, be especially cautious because the consequences of the heat may be even more severe for you, so wear a sun hat and a sunscreen with a high SPF.

 

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

White Card Online News Update: Warning to Construction Workers

Hotter Summers a Risk to Your Health

Rising Summer temperatures pose a threat to the health and safety of Aussie workers, in particular workers who spend a great amount of time outdoors, such as construction workers. According to experts temperatures are set to triple over the next 10 years which could result in more fatalities due to dehydration, heat strokes and other heat related illnesses. Loss of concentration and impairment in judgement, especially in construction workers can have a devastating effect due to the risk involved in construction work.

An interesting post on SafetyCulture.com.au provided more information on the issue:

Australian workers are facing increased safety and health risks as summer becomes hotter, an expert warned.

According to a report by the Herald Sun, academics at the National Climate Change Adaptation Conference, which opened on Tuesday, said a review on workplace laws should be done as summers become hotter.

 Dr Elizabeth Hanna from the Australian National University’s centre for epidemiology and population health, said increasing summer temperatures were causing more heat-related health problems and fatalities, with many happening at work.

 “Australia really needs to start developing some adaptation options because what’s going to happen is we’re going to face that horrible question, ‘Do we down tools over summer or work until we’re dead?’” said Dr Hanna.

 She also said that days when temperatures reached more than 35C would triple over the next decade.

 “The problem is if you sweat up to maximum you become dehydrated, and dehydration has the double whammy – it impairs your mental ability and so people can have poor judgment, particularly if they’re using equipment and machinery and can increase accidents.

 The Herald Sun further reports that there are 1000 heat-related fatalities every year, and this figure is expected to increase.

 Dr Hanna is leading an ANU study to learn about industries and activities that are most susceptible to heat-related diseases.

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/aussie-workers-face-greater-health-risks-as-summers-become-hotter/

Construction employers and workers need to pay more attention to health and safety outdoors as temperatures begin to rise. Employers should develop a strategy to deal with the increasing temperatures, so that workers are not too badly affected.

When working in extreme heat it is extremely important to guard yourself against heat related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cramps etc. The risk involved with working in hot environments intensifies when high temperatures, high humidity and low air movement combine. Places with bad ventilation or confined areas are particularly susceptible to this.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. To prevent heat strokes are to avoid becoming dehydrated and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather. However working in construction, this may not always be possible, so managing the heat is the next practicable step.

When working in extreme heat:

  • Drink at least half a litre of water each hour, to replace the water lost during sweating. Dehydration is the biggest problem when working in the sun, so replace water lost through sweating to avoid this.
  • Wear the appropriate PPE (Personal protective wear), example long sleeve, loose fit shirts when working in the sun. Sunhats to protect the face and guard against sun stroke.
  • Ventilate the work area to provide a good flow of cool air. This is especially important where work processes generate heat such as machinery and equipment. In very hot environments, where there is no fresh air workers are likely to faint.
  • 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 a place, out of the sun where workers can have lunch breaks and rest.
  • Employers should provide free access to cool drinking water so that workers can keep themselves hydrated
  • 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 outdoors work, try to reschedule work to cooler times of the day. If this is not possible arrange workers in shifts so that the same workers are not in the sun the entire day.

Employers need to address the issue before it results in even more serious consequences such as illness, death or workers downing tools hampering productivity and affecting their bottom line even further.  

Posted by Steven Asnicar