In Australia, there are numerous industries in which workers are required to work in hot conditions. Among the most common are mining, construction, and manufacturing. It is the job of safety professionals, managers and employer’s working in these fields to outline a management plan that will protect their people from injuries or illnesses caused by heat stress. This will also help ensure the efficiency of operations which translates to maximum productivity.
However, a heat stress management plan should be comprehensive for it to be effective. It should cover all the factors that contribute to heat stress and the steps needed for prevention or treatment.
1. Education and Training
A comprehensive plan should be able to pinpoint an effective way to disseminate information about heat stress. Workers should be educated about the hazards of accumulating body heat due to working in a hot workplace, including the possible symptoms or signs to watch out for. There should also be trainings geared towards teaching the workers on what to do when heat stress strikes or on how to prevent it from occurring.
2. Workforce Monitoring
Heat stress management guidelines should also include the monitoring of very member of the workforce who might be exposed to high levels of heat. Managers or supervisors should be knowledgeable of the current state of their workers to know who are vulnerable. It is also important to know those who have medical conditions that can worsen due to heat stress.
3. Work Rate Monitoring
The bigger the workload a worker handles, the faster the accumulation of body heat. Thus, the rate of work performed by each member of the workforce should also be monitored. It is important to make sure that no one is overworking to avoid heat stress. Implementing scheduled resting periods will also be helpful.
4. Work Environment Monitoring
In addition to monitoring both the workforce and the work rate, it is also crucial to watch over the work environment. The level of heat and humidity should be kept on check so that adjustments on the workloads and resting periods can be made if necessary. Knowing the workplace environment can also help in creating a hydration policy for the workers.
5. Heat Acclimatisation & Physical Fitness
With permanent exposure and time, the human body has the ability to adapt to the high levels of heat in the workplace. This process is known as heat acclimatisation – which can be used by safety professionals or managers to enable workers to be resistant to hot and humid environments. Furthermore, being physically fit through regular physical activities that results in high sweat rates are proven to increase heat tolerance.
6. Body Cooling Strategies
The most effective way to avoid or treat high body heat is to cool it down. Well, there are many methods to achieve it and the most effective ones are mentioned in one of our previous posts. The strategies include wearing cooling vests, designating PPE-free areas, ingestion of crushed and proper hydration through chilled electrolyte drinks.
7. Rest and Nutrition
Post-shift recovery is also important for workers who are always exposed to high levels of heat. Thus, they should be getting enough rest not only on during the middle of the working hours but after each day of work. They should also eat the right food to recover their energy and their lost electrolytes.
At Thorzt, we are passionate in helping businesses and organizations in managing heat stress in the workplace. We are continuously creating products and solutions that are geared towards improving work performance in hot and humid working environments. Do get in touch with us to know how our company can work with your organisation in achieving a common goal.
Download THORZT”s FREE Heat Stress Management White Paper.