Home > Beat the heat at your workplace this summer: tips for preventing fatigue from WorkCover NSW

Beat the heat at your workplace this summer: tips for preventing fatigue from WorkCover NSW

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article image Detachable hard hat brims from Elliotts are made from durable cotton providing excellent sun protection
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As mentioned in the first part of this series, the most immediate action businesses should take to minimise the risks associated with excessive UV exposure is for managers to set realistic workloads and work schedules, and to ensure that work is distributed fairly, with regular work breaks provided.

Here, we will discuss further practical ways in which UV exposure can be minimised in the workplace. WorkCover recommends that employers:
  • provide and maintain equipment and shelter to protect workers from the sun
  • provide sun safety information, instruction, training and supervision
  • rotate tasks to lessen exposure to the sun as well as mental and physical fatigue, and schedule work at cooler times of the day
  • use rest periods in addition to scheduled meal breaks
  • provide water and encourage workers to stay hydrated
  • provide personal protective equipment such as:
  • clothing with UPF 50+ rating, loose shirts with long sleeves, collars and long pants
  • broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30+)
  • sunglasses which meet Australian Standards for UV protection; and
  • use plant, machinery and equipment to eliminate or reduce the excessive physical demands of the job.
With regard to shelters for protecting workers from the sun, AWP Group offers an extensive range of shade sail systems through its A-Shade brand.

Available in a range of colours and styles, A-Shade shades and shelters are commercial grade structures that block up to 98% of UV radiation, while creating a pleasant atmosphere for staff and visitors.

They also feature long lasting stainless steel fittings and a powder coated framework, with vandal proof models available if required.

While PPE for protecting workers from the sun is relatively self-explanatory, there are a couple of solutions that may be generally overlooked.

One example is in relation to face and head protection, above and beyond the mere application of sunscreen. PPE supplier Elliotts stocks a wide range of hats and helmet covers that are designed to help workers keep cool at outdoor worksites in the summer.

Elliotts' sun protection hats and helmet covers provide shade and protection from the sun while allowing the head to receive airflow and remain as cool as possible. The range includes:
  • detachable hard hat brims
  • straw hats; and
  • broad brim hats.
Another innovative solution is provided by OTB Products with its range of cooling vests. While caution should be taken to ensure that workers are also protected from UV radiation, these vests can assist in ensuring that workers remain cool and comfortable, hence minimising the risk of fatigue that can be caused by excessive exposure to hot outside work environments.

In the final part of this series, we will continue to focus on ways in which businesses and workers can minimise exposure to UV radiation, before concluding with a discussion of return to work plans for workers that succumb to heat and sun-related injuries. Click here to read on.

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