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Beat the heat

Coates Hire says ‘Stay Safe on Hot Days’

Most people have been educated on what heat can do to human beings. The average healthy person can tolerate heat into a range of 35-40 degrees Celsius, and after that it becomes uncomfortable. After discomfort comes symptoms such as confusion, nausea, fainting, fatigue and cramps. And in extreme cases – and with people who are diabetic, elderly or infirm – heat-related illness can lead to death.

As parts of the East Coast prepare for days of 43 degrees or hotter, for a number of days at a time, Coates Hire recommends that workers prepare for the heat and the effects it can have on their performance and safety.
Best Industry practice tells us to begin by staying out of the sun if possible. If you can’t get out of the sun, investigate what you and your manager can do to minimise your exposure. Colleagues have to communicate with one another – it can’t all be left to a manager’s policy because every person reacts differently to extreme heat.

Apart from the standard Australian mitigations against the sun - hats, hydration (drinks & ice) and sun screen – reducing sun-exposure for employees can also include portable pergolas or tents over the work site, to keep employees out of the sun.

Managers and workers should also – where available – establish air conditioned areas where employees can take frequent breaks from the sun, have a rest and take-in their regular hydration.

Managers can also investigate rescheduling working times, by starting earlier, finishing earlier or holding-over work until later in the day, when the sun has gone down.

Managers can also minimise the employees’ time out in the heat by bringing work inside workshops or by rescheduling prolonged outside work to cooler days.

Employees with diabetes or those suffering epilepsy or are recovering from an illness, should be monitored carefully for any work outside on extreme days. If you fall into these categories, you should warn your manager. People who have recently come from countries with a colder climate should acknowledge that they have a lower heat-tolerance and monitor their exposure.

Managers much stay focused on heat-related symptoms in their employees: they include confusion, nausea, fainting, fatigue and cramps. Also, look out for your workmates - if you see any symptoms among colleagues, get them out of the sun to a cool place and make sure they have hydration.

Most important of all report all symptoms to your manager immediately. There have been people who have died from heat-related illness.

At Coates Hire we say Stay Safe on Hot Days!

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