Spotlight on Safety – Heat

A long hot summer forecast

Australia’s long spell of hot and dry weather that has led to bushfires across the country is set to continue through summer, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning communities should prepare for more severe fire danger.

Following a hot spring and with over 100 fires currently burning in NSW alone, we’d like to remind everyone to stay safe and healthy this summer.

Tips for managing smoky conditions

Bushfire smoke contains smoke particles of different sizes, even great distances from the fires.

Signs of smoke irritation include itchy eyes, sore throat, runny nose and coughing.

On smoky days, try to:

  • Minimise outdoor physical activity where practical
  • Keep windows and doors closed when indoors and switch air-conditioners to “recycle or recirculate” to reduce the amount of indoor smoke
  • Seek medical advice immediately if you experience breathing problems or chest pain

Source: La Trobe University

Working in hot conditions

Whether indoors or outdoors, working in a hot environment can cause you to become fatigued and physically weak, as well as slow your reaction times and affect your judgement. Any of these increase your risk of injury, and you may begin to make errors, drop tools or stumble.

Safe Work NSW recommends employers and workers reduce the risks from exposure to UV radiation or extreme heat by:

  • Utilising an air-conditioned area for frequent rest breaks
  • Supplying lots of cool drinking water and encouraging workers to drink frequently.
  • Providing shade and shelter for outdoor workers
  • Rotating tasks, to reduce exposure to UV radiation and extreme heat
  • Scheduling work to cooler times of the day
  • Ensuring all staff have information, instruction, training and supervision
  • Ensuring all staff have correct personal protective equipment, eg: for outdoor workers – SPF 30+ sunscreen, SPF 50+ clothing, long-sleeve shirts and broad-brimmed hats.

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