Heat stress affects building and construction related works, steps should be taken to reduce the risks.
What are the typical symptoms:-?
Cramping Muscles, often these include side stitches and calf muscles.
Dry skin that maybe hot to the touch, loss of concentration and confusion, rash, person is very thirsty, headaches, tiredness, dizziness and in extreme heat stroke the person may convulse and could lose consciousness.
Reducing the risks of heat stress:-
Firstly determine if the sources of heat can be stopped, if not then determine if the temperature can be controlled by:-
- Use cooling fans or air conditioning systems.
- Use of physical barriers that reduce exposure to radiant heat.
Reduce the time that workers are exposed to the heat by:-
- Determining if work should be carried out at cooler times of the day
- Reducing the how long your workers should work in the heat.
- Provide cool rest environments and encourage short exposure to the heat.
- Provide drinking water in work areas, its best to use small cups to reduce the amount of water taken at one time and to encourage drinking more frequently.
- Provide the best possible Personal Protective Equipment and depending on the work environment personal cooling systems, in particular where the work requires head to toe environmental suits. (allow sweat evaporation)
- Training should be carried out where heat stress may occur, this type of work should be carefully supervised and workers checked for any symptoms of heat stress.
- All persons involved should be fully trained to cope with emergencies and procedures should be in place to deal with any emergency.
Companies that engage in works where heat stress may occur should monitor their workers as well as ensuring persons that should NOT be working in these conditions are prevented from doing so, for example pregnant women and those identified by health monitoring.
Advice may be needed from an occupational health professional or medical practitioner.
Monitor the health of workers at risk. Where it is considered that a residual risk remains after implementing as many control measures as practicable, you may need to monitor the health of workers exposed to the risk. You should then seek advice from occupational health professionals with a good working knowledge of the risks associated with working in heat stress situations.
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