How To Keep Your Employees Safe and Productive This Summer
Summer heat in Australia can be incredibly intense, with temperatures often reaching well above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country. This heat can have a significant impact on employee productivity and safety, and it is essential for employers to take measures to protect their workers from the summer heat.
Here are some tips for keeping your employees safe from the summer heat in Australia:
Encourage frequent breaks
Encouraging your employees to take frequent breaks and move to a cool and shaded area during their work hours can help prevent heat-related illnesses. Schedule rest breaks in the coolest parts of the day, such as early morning and late afternoon, when the sun is not as intense. Provide your employees with access to cool and shaded areas, such as air-conditioned break rooms or outdoor shelters, to allow them to cool off during their breaks.
Provide appropriate attire and equipment
Providing your employees with appropriate attire and equipment that can protect them from the sun is crucial. Encourage workers to wear light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing made of natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen, which allow the skin to breathe and wick away sweat. Provide wide-brimmed hats or other head coverings to protect their face and head from the sun. Additionally, provide sunscreen and lip balm and encourage its regular use.
Provide training on heat-related illness prevention
Proper education is key to prevent heat-related illnesses, provide your employees with training on heat-related illness prevention, including the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and how to properly hydrate. Educate workers about the importance of drinking enough water, taking frequent breaks and protecting themselves from the sun.
Monitor the temperature and humidity
Monitoring the temperature and humidity levels in the workplace is essential to maintaining a safe working environment. Keep a thermometer and humidity gauge in the workplace to measure the conditions, and make adjustments as needed, such as turning up the air conditioning or providing additional fans.
Consider implementing flexible work schedule
Implementing a flexible work schedule that allows employees to avoid working during the hottest parts of the day can help protect them from the heat. This could include staggered start and end times or allowing employees to work from home on particularly hot days if practical.
Be mindful of employees with medical conditions
Employees with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or respiratory problems, may be more vulnerable to the heat and require extra care. Be mindful of these employees and make sure they have the resources they need to stay cool and safe. Providing accommodations such as extra rest breaks or allowing them to work indoors during the summer heat can help to protect these employees.
Special arrangements for outdoor workers
If your employees work outdoors, special arrangements are required to protect them from the heat. This might include providing them with additional water, rest breaks, and access to cool, shaded areas. Schedule outdoor work for the cooler parts of the day and provide appropriate protective gear such as sunscreen, hats, and loose-fitting clothing. You can also invest on devices like heat stress monitors, they will allow you to detect signs of heat-related illness in your employees and take action accordingly.
Implement effective communication strategies
Ensure that your employees know how to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and what to do if they or a co-worker start to experience symptoms. Implement effective communication strategies, such as regular reminders about heat-related illness prevention and emergency procedures, to ensure that all employees are aware of the risks and know how to respond in the event of an emergency.
By following these tips, you can help keep your employees safe, and your productivity strong!
Do you need help implementing strategies to keep your workers safe from the sun? If so, the experienced consultants at Workplace Emergency Management would be happy to assist in all your emergency planning needs. Contact one of our friendly customer service representatives today at 1300 831 694 to see what we can do to meet your workplace health and safety needs!