What is heat stroke?
Heat stroke is a serious condition that can occur when the body becomes overheated and is unable to regulate its internal temperature. When the body’s core temperature rises above 40 degrees Celsius, it can lead to organ damage, or even death.
Causes of heat stroke in the workplace:
- Working in hot weather, outside or in small spaces, especially with machinery
- Exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day
- Reflected heat from materials, such as polished aluminium and glass
- Strenuous activities or working for long periods of time
- Additional heat from machinery such as a welding torch
- Insufficient breaks and failure to keep hydrated
- Protective clothing and equipment
- Working while sick
- Poor diet, alcohol consumption
- Other health factors such as obesity
Symptoms of heat stroke:
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Heat stroke can be fatal if it is not treated promptly.
Preventing heat stroke in the workplace:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol, as these can dehydrate the body.
- If possible, try to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to help keep the body cool.
- Take frequent breaks if you are working in a hot environment.
- If you feel like you are getting too hot, remove yourself from the situation and cool down in a shady or air-conditioned area. Apply a cool cloth to your forehead and rest.
Queensland legislation on hot working environments:
- Workers must be provided with training on sun safety and be informed of risk factors
- Employers must ensure workers wear protective gear, including a hat and sunscreen, take adequate breaks, seek shade and keep hydrated to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke, fainting and cramps.
- Employers also need a plan and resources in place to respond to heat related incidents.
It is important to take precautions to avoid heat stroke when working in the construction industry. By following these tips, you can help prevent heat stroke from occurring. Remember to stay safe this summer and stay cool!
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