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Combatting heat related injuries at work - Shine Lawyers


Its no secret that as each year passes by, Australia is getting hotter. Its been confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded and the trend is likely to continue. As Australians, we know too well to slip, slop, slap when we are outdoors. But how safe are we from heat when we are at work?

It is well understood that outdoor workers like truck drivers and tradesmen are more likely to be injured at work due to heat. However, indoor workers can also be at risk especially when the work place is in poorly ventilated or near hot areas like kitchens or laundries. So it is important to be prepared for the heat, regardless of where you work.

What are the possible injuries?

The most serious heat related injury is the heat stroke. If you suspect you are getting a heat stroke, access medical attention immediately.

Heat related illness and fatigue could also lead to other workplace injuries because it reduces the workers’ concentration, increasing the likelihood of making errors or mishandling work equipments.

What are the signs of heat related illness?

These are some of the common symptoms to look for to see if a worker is affected by heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
  • Slurred Speech
  • Staggering walk
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of concentration
  • Confusion
  • Deliriousness
What to do when you see symptoms of heat related illness?
  • Take the person to a cooler area
  • Remove excess clothing, if safe to do so
  • If they’re conscious, give them plenty of water
  • Access medical help

What steps can you take to stay safe and avoid heat related injuries?

Both the employers and employees need to be proactive to ensure everyone is safe from the heat.

Employees

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Listen to your body. If you suspect the heat is affecting your health, stop and take rest.
Employers
  • Observe the weather forecast and plan ahead. On hot days try to allocate tasks earlier or later in the day
  • Allocate regular breaks on hotter days.
  • Indoors: ensure the work place is well ventilated, and provide air-conditioning or fans.
  • Outdoors: ensure the workers have a cool place to rest.

Written by Shine Lawyers on February 1, 2017. Last modified: September 6, 2018.

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