Is Heat Stress Risk making you sweat? We’ve got it covered.
Five steps for an uncomplicated worksite Heat Management
There is a big difference between feeling uncomfortable on a hot day outside and suffering from heat stress. Both are serious but only heat stress can be fatal. A proper heat management plan is paramount for maintaining outdoor workers wellbeing and employee retention while avoiding productivity disruptions.
Many of us turn to temperature information from the weather forecasting websites and apps in order to make decisions about whether we are taking the kids to the park today because it may be too hot or if hiking is going to be pleasant at 9 am.
But is the temperature information enough to make that decision when it comes to outdoor workers?
The short answer is NO!
It is important to understand that temperature is not the only important factor contributing to the risk of heat stress. What you are wearing, what you are doing, your health, hydration and acclimatisation status need to be considered as well as temperature, radiation, humidity and wind speed.
Heat Stress can occur even at surprisingly low temperatures when it’s humid and still (air is not circulating nor is evaporation as effective as usual). In fact, a study of 157 heat stroke deaths in US military camps discovered that the air temperatures at the time of death were, surprisingly, as low as 26 degrees, but were accompanied by relatively high humidity (Schickele 1947).
Heat stress and/or heat related illnesses, such as heat rash, headache, nausea, fainting, and in extreme cases heat stroke severely affect workers in the outdoor environment. But, proper heat management is only 5 steps away. In the following section, we provide some insights into the best practices to manage heat stress for outdoor workers. Weather Intelligence has been helping many companies through this process and achieve great results to keep their staff safe with HeatX (now part of the Kite platform). Check it out:
1. Pre-summer preparation
Prepare a Heat Risk Assessment considering all the factors that affect heat stress as well as long-term climate data for your location in order to determine the risk for each work activity at the worksite. Identify high-risk work activities and windows and prepare your worksite to proactively manage the heat stress risk by completing a Heat Management Plan. The plan should include triggers and controls to mitigate the risk and reduce the potential interruptions to your site from heat.
2. Monitor Daily
Receive a daily report assessing your heat risk over the coming days.
3. Early Warnings
Identify potential high-risk days in advance to allow you to proactively manage the elevated risk of heat stress.
Reduce potential down time by mitigating the risk through pre-emptive measures such as change of roster, having cooling vests ready to go or provide shade or a fan.
5. Post-Summer Review
Review and evaluate your great summer performance and update your triggers if needed.
HeatX (now part of the Kite platform) brings you peace of mind and helps you gain your employee’s trust as you are looking after their wellbeing.
Check it out how Mines, Farms, Ports and Construction workers can benefit Weather Intelligence‘s solutions. HeatX (now part of the Kite platform) provides site-specific visibility of your heat risk for the next seven days.
This article featured in the Katestone’s Clear Skies 2020 Spring edition. Click here to view other featured articles.
Schickele, E., 1947. Environment and fatal heat stroke: an analysis of 157 cases occurring in the army in the US during World War II. The Military Surgeon (United States), 100(3), pp.235-256.