Working Outside Requires Extra Safety in Summer

Summer has arrived a little late for most of us.  Holidays are over, the school term is in full swing and most of us are back at work, indoors.  However for a large number of workers the day is spent outside and this can present a few extra health and safety challenges.  So whether you are an employer or an employee, a vineyard worker, road worker, landscaper or construction worker think about the additional risks a job outside can cause.

Skin Cancer

Around 300 New Zealanders die of melanoma every year

Unfortunately, New Zealand has one of the highest melanoma rates in the world. Make sure that you and your staff are aware that exposure to our harsh UV rays can lead to melanoma or other skin cancers.  Not all employees may be native to New Zealand and know these risks.

As an employer could you provide a good quality sunscreen, long sleeve clothing made of breathable material or hats and/or neck protectors to minimise the chances of getting sunburn? Ensure that the staff know the risks so that they don’t take their hats or shirts off when they get out of sight.

Get your workers to wear sunglasses.  Do you need to provide safety sunglasses?  If their job involves the risk of loose, flying materials a pair of UV rated safety sunglasses will have good impact protection and minimise sun damage to the eyes.

Minimise sun exposure by providing sunshades or shelter over the working positions where practicable.

Common Myths about Skin Cancer: 

  • You cannot get skin cancer if it’s cloudy or through a window.
  • People with dark skin do not get skin cancer.
  • Fake tan will protect you from UV exposure.
  • You need to be outside to get Vitamin D from the sunshine.

 

Dehydration and Heat stroke

On average 14 people die a year from heat-related causes

Like paint your body dries quickly in the heat and sunshine.  If heat exhaustion is not dealt with quickly, it can progress to heat stroke, which can be life-threatening.

Working in confined spaces like underfloor, ceiling or roof work will increase the risk of heat exhaustion.  Ensure there is adequate airflow through these areas, use fans or air conditioning to provide ventilation.

Humidity increases the likelihood of heat exhaustion as much as the actual temperature. High humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, so that the body has more difficulty cooling itself.

To prevent heat exhaustion:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes even if you don’t feel thirsty.  Avoid drinking too much coffee, sugary drinks or alcohol as these can be dehydrating.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade.
  • Take extra precautions with certain medications

Make sure your workers know the signs of heat exhaustion before it becomes heatstroke. Heat stroke victims usually don’t recognise their own symptoms.

  • Clammy or sweaty skin
  • Darker coloured urine
  • Pounding or rapid pulse
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling weak or dizzy

Heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke. Indicators of heatstroke include:

  • Mood changes or confusion
  • Loss of balance, fainting
  • Seizures
  • Dry, red skin

 

Call us now to find out how SiteApp can limit the risk to you and your employees. Create a heat stress checklist which can be completed on site quickly and easily via a smartphone or tablet.

 

6 Preventative Ways to Avoid Workplace Accidents and Injuries

Back at work after a summer break you probably think you have too much to catch up on to think about safety. However workplace injuries don’t take holidays. They are more likely to happen when you are focused on other things and they can happen in any kind of working environment and affect any worker.

While some injuries wouldn’t require urgent attention, there are also injuries that can be grave and even life-threatening. This is exactly why all businesses are required to comply with Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) to reduce the occurrence of workplace injuries.

So, what should be done to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace? This article outlines 6 preventative measures to keep your workplace safe for everyone:

  1. Spread Health & Safety Awareness in the Workplace
    Introduce workers to the Health and Safety At Work Act (HSWA) so they are aware of the health and safety rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors, and employers. If their work pose safety hazards, make sure they go through a specific workplace health and safety training.
  2. Provide Protective Gear
    Anyone working in or passing through areas that hazards should wear protective gear. Make sure all protective gear are of great quality and designed for the specific duty or hazard. They must also fit well and feel comfortable and they should meet the current standards from the HSWA Guidance.
  3. Inspect the Workplace for Safety Hazards
    Inspect all work areas, access routes, and equipment for possible safety hazards and look carefully into the operations to see if there are processes that might result to workers getting injured at work.
  4. Be Prepared for Fire Emergencies
    There will always be fire threats in any kind of workplace and the only way to prevent accidents and injuries caused by fire is to be ready. Make sure you have the right equipment such as fire extinguishers, sprinklers, or an automated fire control system.The placement and accessibility of this equipment also plays an important role in case of a fire. They have to be strategically placed in your workplace. Just make sure that your employees know where the equipment is and that they are properly trained on how to react in a fire situation.
  5. Get Anti-Slip Mats
    Slips, Trips, and Falls (STFs) are actually among the leading causes of workplace injuries. Severe ones end up requiring expensive treatment and extensive recovery.So take STFs more seriously by securing STF-prone areas with quality safety mats that will prevent people from slipping and falling.
  6. Have a Complete First Aid Set up
    First aid can save lives so make sure to choose a provider that offers a managed first aid service.An immediate CPR treatment can help someone survive a heart attack. These skills and knowledge can be acquired by training, but you will also need to get a complete, fully-stocked, and updated First Aid Kit. Or you can rent one to be 100% sure that it is stocked, up to date, and up to legal standards.

It’s impossible to avoid accidents totally but they can be prevented. Keep all these in mind to make sure your workplace is a safe place for your workers.

The content for this article was provided by Alsco Pty Ltd (www.alsco.co.nz ) rental service providers of hospital grade first aid kits, portable defibrillators and anti-slip mats for your workplace.