Australian summers are notorious for their scorching hot days. Sometimes this is hot and dry, as outback heat is dragged over the country’s coastal cities, blanketing them. Sometimes this is hot and humid meaning thick, sticky air which can be hard to breathe in, posing equally difficult working conditions.
What does this mean for workers that uses scaffolding in Melbourne?
Workers in the Australian construction industry often work under these hot conditions – and often in unsheltered areas meaning exposure to harsh direct sunlight. Exposure to UV radiation like this can pose serious hazards such as sunburn and dehydration.
Heat stress is when one’s body can’t cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature. Workers in these conditions are prone to encountering this. This leads to a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Here are just some…
• Tiredness and fatigue
• Headaches and dizziness
• Extreme thirst and feeling faint
• Red, hot skin and high body temperatures
• Dry swollen tongue and slurred speech
• Aggression and confusion
In extreme cases, this can also lead to…
• Rapid heart rate
• Convulsions and seizures
With Australian summers in recent years reporting intense heat for longer periods of time, and higher temperature extremes, it seems the risk of heat stress for those working on scaffolding in Melbourne is only increasing. Workers are in hotter conditions than before, and it’s increasingly imperative to put as many safety measures in place as possible.
Here are a list of recommendations for the scaffolding workers in Melbourne under heat and sunlight…
• Increased fluid intake – before, during, and after work
• Sunscreen application
• Using a hat and sunglasses
• Covering arms and legs
• Create shade where possible
• Becoming aware of one’s own medical conditions – and susceptibility to heat stress
• Regular consumption of food – to keep up energy and electrolytes
• Sufficient sleep for work – to fight fatigue
• Cautious use of caffeinated drinks – as these can exacerbate dehydration
Heat safety gear
All workers should be provided with the following equipment to help ensure their safety in the heat. Manage heat in the scaffolding workplace in Melbourne with…
• Water bottles – all workers should have refillable bottles (or hydration packs)
• Helmets – not only shield from falling debris but also give the face extra shade from the harsh UV rays that can permeate the workplace
• Cooling vests – contain four or so pockets, in which ice packs can be inserted. This adds relieving coolness and comfort in the face of excessive heat.
• Neck protection – a shade piece for the back of the neck can be hung from under the helmet (neck ties may also be worn)
• Gloves – to add protection to hands from injuries that may be acquired from use of hot tools, scaffolding frames in Melbourne, and machinery like chainsaws and drills.
The Australian summer months bring rising temperatures that pose serious risks in the construction site. Extreme temperatures in the scaffolding workplace in Melbourne are thus a health hazard to the staff onsite, and should not be taken lightly.
Heat stress, dehydration, heat-related injuries and fatalities are all real consequences of working in this environment, but the majority of cases are easily avoidable. To keep scaffolding workers in Melbourne safe and productive, employers and employees alike must be educated about these potential dangers.
It’s everyone’s role in the scaffolding workplace in Melbourne to know the risks, and the personal and managerial precautions to collectively take. Employers and employees alike should monitor one another for the indicative signs of heat stress, and know what to do should an emergency arise.