May 28, 2012

Too warm in your work place

Is it just a matter of discomfort or are there any real risks which you need to consider?

Heat stress is a risk to those working in any hot environment and needs careful management to make sure that staff avoid serious illness.

People experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke may loose concerntration and become fatigued which increases the likelihood of mistakes and accidents.

Heat exhaustion is charaterised by fatigue, giddiness, nausea, headache and clammy skin. Heat stroke is the most serve sondition and involves confusion, convulsions and eventual loss of consciousness.

If your staff report high temperature symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of concerntration, heat rash etc, they may be at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Ask yourself:

Can you reduce the temperature of the workplace?

Make sure the area is well ventilated with a cool breeze or if available simply lower the temperature with air conditioning.   

Could the work be done at a different time when environment is cooler?

The work environment may be experiencing elavated temperatures due to other work operations, activities or simply because of the time of day, if so try to re-schedule the work for a cooler time if appropriate.

Can you control the impact of temperature?

You may not be able to reduce or eliminate the heat, so you should think about how you can help employees deal with the heat. Use mechanical aids for manual handling operations, rotate work activities and provide cold drinks to help people keep their cool.