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:
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.
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.