We are into the last month of what is officially summer, however the hot weather is still going strong and it is important to remain vigilant around the risks when working in heat.
The safe working temperature is not based on air temperature alone. Factors to consider in regards to heat also include humidity, radiant heat (the heat emitted from an object or surface), physical activity and clothing.
Minimising the risk of harm for extreme temperatures can include isolation and engineering controls including:
- Ventilation and air conditioning
- Process modification
- Heat reduction
If you are working outdoors it is always important to cover up, apply a high SPF sunblock, and to stay hydrated.
Inadequate hydration and heat exposure can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses. Heat Cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that occur during exercise or work in a hot environment. Inadequate fluid intake often contributes to heat cramps.
The symptoms of Heat Exhaustion may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse as a result of your body overheating. Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, strenuous physical activity and dehydration.
Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is life-threatening. Heatstroke can be brought on by high environmental temperatures, strenuous physical activity or by other conditions that raise your body temperature. Immediate medical attention is required.
WorkSafe NZ have some great resources for those working in the sun which are available here. Our Environmental team can help assess heat stress in your workplace and make recommendations on findings. Contact them today on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0800 487 439.