06:12 pm, Wednesday 2 January, 2013
SafeWork SA reminds workplaces to ensure they have established ways to protect workers from heat as temperatures are forecast to rise above 40C over the coming days.
A/Executive Director Robin Scott said hot weather should always be considered when planning work activities.
“Heat stress can afflict workers at outdoor locations such as construction sites, storage yards, tarmacs, roads and farms,” said Mr Scott.
“It is also important to recognise that heat poses a risk in confined spaces. Temperatures in industrial sheds can exceed 50 degrees, placing workers at risk.”
“Working in a hot environment can impair workers’ concentration and judgement, which heightens the chances of other harmful incidents occurring,” said Mr Scott.
Symptoms of heat stress may include headaches, fatigue, dizziness or fainting, increased sweating, mood changes such as irritability or confusion, and possible an upset stomach or vomiting.
“Continuing to work when you experience the symptoms of heat stress can lead to serious illness and in extreme cases, death,” said Mr Scott.
The following measures are recommended to protect workers from heat-related risks:
- Schedule work so that more physically demanding tasks are done during the cooler times of the day
- Rotate workers who have to work in direct sunlight – doing so can help reduce the length of sun exposure for each person
- Where possible, provide artificial shade such as umbrellas or a sunshade
- Keep well hydrated. South Australian workplace safety laws require that fresh drinking water be provided at all workplaces
- Ensure adequate ventilation. Wherever possible, the work environment should be ventilated by the use of fans or other means
- Provide UV protection – sunblock and wide-brimmed hats should be supplied as part of personal protective equipment.