Working in hot weather can at times pose a serious health hazard. Heat related illnesses are a real threat to yourself and your employees working on the ground. Under the Workplace Health and Safety Act S 19, the business owner or duty officer is required to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of your team working in hot weather. In hot conditions, tasks that would ordinarily be simple can lead to heat related illnesses in your team. Some heat related illnesses can lead to nuisance and lost time injuries, but heat stroke can be fatal.
SOME COMMON HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES ARE;
- Heat rash: red and irritated skin
- Heat cramps: Muscles can start to cramp as a result of electrolyte loss from excessive sweating
- Fainting: Heat can make you prone to faint when standing or lifting
- Dehydration: Increased sweating can lead to dehydration
- Heat exhaustion: when the body is struggling to maintain appropriate core temperature
- Heat stroke: Potentially fatal condition when the body core temperature exceeds 37 ⁰C and can no longer cool itself
- Dizziness, confusion and irritability: heat exhaustion can dull the mind and lead to confusion and irritation.
- Increased metabolism: heat can cause the body to absorb chemicals differently and increase the uptake and metabolism of medication
Worksafe Australia has an online basic heat stress calculator, that they recommend to help work planners mitigate the risk of heat related illnesses. The WorkWize Heat Stress Safety App streamlines this online calculator with the functionality and ease of use of a mobile app. The app determines the risk of heat stress related illness due to working in hot weather. The algorithm is based on the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) 2013 Heat Stress Standard. The WorkWize Heat Stress Safety App is an invaluable tool to help you plan out work procedures safely in hot conditions.
User input to a questionnaire about a job or task is combined with weather data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to determine the level of risk. Control strategies are given to help reduce risk, if too high. Job details can be saved for repeat tasks to be reassessed under different weather conditions or modified quickly for similar tasks. The app also contains a summary of first aid for heat stress related illnesses.
THE WORKWIZE HEAT STRESS SAFETY APP CONTAINS;
- Risk assessment based on AIOH 2013 Heat Stress Standard
- Colour coded risk level indicator based on job details and current weather conditions
- Detailed assessment of 14 risk contributing factors such as clothing, intensity of work and time between breaks
- Summary of first aid procedures for heat stress related illnesses
- Ability to save job details for repeat jobs to assess with different weather conditions or minor variations
- Uses phone GPS to access BOM API for weather data at current location or user can manually input location or weather data
- Interactive risk summary screen allows users to identify highest contributing factors to risk level and quickly adapt work procedure
- Suggested risk control strategies given to help guide work planning