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Sun protection and extreme heat

As the weather warms up, it's important to know the risks associated with sun exposure and how working in hot conditions can lead to life threatening conditions.

What are the risks?

Damage caused by UV radiation can contribute to an increased risk of skin cancer. The brightness or temperature of sunlight is not directly related to the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation component of sunlight. This means that the risk is still present even on cool or cloudy days during the peak UV periods of the year (September to April).

Working in the heat can be unpleasant, lead to physical discomfort, illness and the development of more serious conditions. Heat stress is a life threatening condition caused when the body overheats.

Warning signs of heat stress to watch out for include:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy, faint or weak
  • Difficulty in thinking clearly
  • Becoming confused
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting

What do I need to do?

  • wearing loose, long sleeved clothing that covers as much skin as possible and a broad - brimmed hat that covers your face, ears and neck
  • putting on sunscreen 20 minutes before going out into the sun and reapply every two hours, or more often when sweating
  • keeping to shaded areas where possible
  • wearing close fitting, wrap around style tinted safety glasses
  • frequently drinking small quantities of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • avoiding drinks containing caffeine (coffee, tea, some performance drinks)
  • provide training to supervisors in identifying early warning signs
  • use of PPE signage where appropriate and applicable
  • where reasonably practicable, organise rosters to minimise workers exposure to extreme heat and ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Make sure to take preventative steps to protect yourselves for the upcoming summer months.

For further information, refer to HIA resource Working in heat.

To help keep your worksite safe, contact HIA's Safety solutions team.

Enquire now

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