03:13 am, Wednesday 27 November, 2013
Photo: SafetyCulture Library
Working in the heat has several risks which if not addressed properly, can lead to workplace injuries and fatalities. This is according to John Watson, General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division.
“Working in hot and sunny conditions during the summer months can lead to fatigue and heat stress,” said Mr Watson.
“This can affect a worker’s health, reducing their performance and productivity, and increasing the chance of a workplace injury through reduced ability to concentrate, recognize risks and communicate effectively.
“In fact, in the three years to July 2012 there were 419 claims for workplace fatigue and heat stroke at a cost of $4.2 million to the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme.”
He encouraged workers and businesses to protect themselves.
“Businesses must provide sun safety information, instruction, training and supervision to their workers,” he said.
“They should also set realistic workloads and work schedules, ensure fair distribution of work and provide regular rest breaks.
“If possible, they should try to re-schedule work to cooler times of the day such as early mornings or late afternoons.
“They should also ensure workers have access to plain drinking water, at least 200mL every 15-20 minutes, rather than caffeinated drinks which can have a diuretic affect, provide shaded rest areas and frequent rest breaks.
“Workers should be provided clothing with a UPF 50+ rating such as loose shirts with long sleeves, collars and long pants.
“They should also be provided with broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+, broad brimmed hats and sunglasses which meet Australian Standards for UV protection.”