Summer is a fun time of the year! The warmer weather allows for visits to the beach, more time outside and cocktails next to the pool. However, all these fun events don’t mean there aren’t those working in that Australia’s Hot Sun! Work never stops, right?
Working in Australia’s hot sun can lead to several health issues if proper precautions aren’t taken. Some of the more common precautions that workers should take include installing a roof walkway system, staying dehydrated and avoiding heat stress.
Avoiding the Negative Effects of the Heat- Australia’s Hot Sun
When you’re visiting the beach, the suns rays are welcomed. However, these same rays can make people working in the sun quite sick! Whether you’re doing odd jobs around your home, or work outside on a daily basis, it’s important to know the limits of being exposed to high temperatures.
There are a number of steps you should take to ensure that you and your workers don’t develop heat illness during extended hours of sun exposure. Some of these include the following.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
Since Australia is notorious for its sweltering temperatures, it’s not surprising that there’s a maximum temperature that anyone is legally allowed to work under. The CFMEU states that workers shouldn’t work in temperatures of 37.5 degrees or higher.
This temperature is generally measured at the nearest Bureau of Meteorology weather station to the area where work is taking place. This should apply to work being done around the home as well.
Working in extreme temperatures can have the following negative effects on people’s health:
- Heat rash
- Muscle cramps
- Fainting and fatigue
- UV Exposure
Install Roof Walkways
Aside from being a general safety requirement, it’s important for roof workers to make use of roof walkways systems. Ay roofer will tell you, being on top of a hot roof in extreme temperatures can easily add to feelings of heat stress.
It’s easier for roof workers to maintain their balance, and get the job done as speedily as possible if they have adequate and safe walkways to lean on. It also makes getting tools and equipment on and off the roof quickly. The less time on a hot roof, the better!
Since your body heats up quicker during the summer, working in hot temperatures can lead to you becoming dehydrated very quickly. Dehydration is the first symptom of heat related health conditions and could require hospitalisation.
Whether you’re working on your property or out on a job site, it’s important to ensure there’s also cool, bottled water available. Having smaller bottles of water available make it easier for employees to just drink when necessary rather than having to go and look for water elsewhere on site at a water point. A pro tip is to have a cooler box or bag in a shady area, filled with bottles of water workers can take with them.
It’s also crucial to know the early signs of dehydration:
- Excessive sweating
- Sudden dry mouth
- Extreme thirst
At the first sign of a problem, get help!
When you’re getting hot, your first response is to wear less clothes! However, it’s important to not skimp on the necessary PPE:
- It’s crucial to wear a hat if you’re working in the sun.
- Gloves are also a great way to protect your hands from touching hot materials AND prevent sunburn.
- In extreme conditions, wear sunscreen and eye protection. For the Australian sun you’ll need a sunscreen of at least 30+SPF.
Schedule Regular Breaks
In hot weather, people might be tempted to work as fast as possible for as long as possible to get the job done. The thinking here is that this will get you out of the sun quicker.
While this might be a smart approach to some degree, it’s important to schedule regular breaks to help control body temperature. During these breaks, workers should move to shady areas and hydrate. Energy foods such as fruits and nuts will help to replenish your energy levels. You can also rotate workers to make sure that everyone shares in the gruelling work in the heat.
Plan Work Schedules Ahead
It’s important to plan the day’s work as extensively as possible before the time. This will minimise the time spent in the sun trying to decide what needs to be done next! This will help painters and roof workers to limit sun exposure.
There might be days when the temperature exceeds 38 degrees, making it too hot to work. Use these days to work a morning and afternoon shift. Doing this will keep employees out of the sun during peak times without affecting productivity!
It’s important for you and your employees’ safety to try and stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Peak sun times are usually between 10am and 3pm and it’s important to rotate staff during these hours. By ensuring your team wears the necessary safety gear and uses sunscreen, you can prevent severe health risks brought on by sun exposure and heat.
If you can’t be on the beach enjoying the sun and cooling off in the ocean, make sure you take the necessary precautions to stay healthy while you’re getting the job done!