James Hardie targeting 50 per cent cost reduction with THORZT hydration and heat stress program
James Hardie Queensland is implementing a new education-first approach to workplace heat stress and hydration management, seeking to improve worker and business outcomes while reducing program costs by 50 per cent.
Lead by, Stephen Moehead—the environmental health safety manager of James Hardie’s Brisbane-based manufacturing plant—the new heat stress and hydration program is being structured to achieve measurable outcomes.
With some 220 workers on the Queensland site often dealing with blistering temperatures and high humidity, Moehead says heat stress and dehydration are very real hazards that he identified as requiring better management when he commenced the role 12 months ago, in late 2017.
“Workers here face a combination of indoor and outdoor exposures. Particularly inside the building, where heat generated from the manufacturing process means temperatures are pretty much the same as working outdoors in the sun. There’s no real difference,” he said.
Overhauling hydration and heat stress management:
When Moehead first started, there were only standard industry controls in place such as “task rotation, sunscreen, shade and energy replacement drinks.”
“It was very much a ground zero starting point,” Moehead said, adding that he is now putting more science behind the heat stress and hydration management program, including hydration testing, measuring thermal work limits and implementing a THORZT-lead workplace training program.
“I was exposed to THORZT five years ago on a project up in Darwin where we ran their program and product up there with great success,” Moehead said.
“THORZT have provided an education baseline for the guys, who didn’t understand how to hydrate their body properly. But now, through the introduction of the THORZT program, they are more informed.”
Heat stress management is also part of the program, which Moehead says includes a variety of cooling products, evaporative suits, THORZT icy poles and a measured consumption approach.
All of this is backed by a typical poster training campaign to reinforce messages.
“The guys have embraced the program actually. It’s been very positive. I also ran a “Danger Sun Overhead” UV workshop on the same day we did the THORZT workshop.
“Now they are asking for the THORZT products to be rolled out.”
Better outcomes. Reduced costs:
Moehead forecasts that the new program will result in a 50 per cent cost reduction based on it teaching workers how to correctly hydrate and therefore consume less product.
“Previously we had a free-pour, non-measured approach. The guys didn’t understand the importance of consuming the correct ratio of normal water and electrolyte replacement drink,” Moehead said, adding that they often overconsumed electrolytes as a result.
What’s changed now is they fully understand that hydration starts before they come to work (pre-hydration), as well as the importance of programmed drinking and the correct ratio of water and electrolytes, he added, crediting THORZT with this knowledge.
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For more information on heat stress or hydration management, download detailed guides from our Information Centre.