HEAT-A SERIOUS PHYSICAL HAZARD

HEAT—A SERIOUS PHYSICAL HAZARD.

Hello there, this is Goke Akingbade(your Safety guide) here with another interesting topic to dwell on. We will be considering heat and heat related health problems today.                                                         Heat is a serious physical hazard which can lead to serious illness when working in a hot environment.

Heat –related illnesses include:

  • Sun Burn.
  • Heat Rash.
  • Heat Syncope.
  • Heat Cramps.
  • Heat Exhaustion.
  • Heat Stress.
  • Heat Stroke.

We will be focusing on heat exhaustion and heat stress today. Let’s find out what Heat exhaustion is.

HEAT EXHAUSTION                                                                                                                                  It is caused by loss of fluid as a result of excessive sweating.                                                                   The symptoms include:

  • Nausea and Headache.
  • Clammy, moist skin.
  • Pale complexion.
  • Body temperature-Normal or Slightly above Normal.

A person experiencing heat exhaustion will still sweat, but they will experience extreme weakness.

HEAT STRESS

High temperatures, humidity, sunlight, and heavy work increases the chance of heat stress. Heat Stress is the illness that occurs when your body is subjected to more heat that it can accommodate.

FACTS ABOUT HEAT STRESS                                                                                                                During work, excess heat can lead to loss of concentrations or rise in fatigue and irritability which may increase the chances of an accident or injury. It is not caused by exposure to pesticides or chemicals. During summer in Western countries , personal protective equipment (PPE) worn during pest control operations may increase the risk of heat stress.

  • It is not easy to tell the difference between stress and illness caused by pesticide poisoning.
  • The signs and symptoms are similar.
  • If you or someone you know is in such a situation, do not waste time trying to ascertain what might be the cause of the illness, get medical help immediately.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT STRESS

  • Dizziness and fainting.
  • Severe thirst and Dry mouth.
  • Headache, Nausea and Chills.
  • Clammy or Hot, Dry Skin.
  • Fatigue, Exhaustion and Muscle weakness.
  • Heavy Sweating or complete lack of sweating.

FIRST AID FOR HEAT STRESS

  1. Get the victim into a shaded or cool area.
  2. Cool the victim as quick as possible by sponging or splashing the skin, especially the face,neck, hands and forearms with cool water or immersing the victim in cool water.
  3. Remove any PPE or clothing that may be making the victim warm.
  4. If the victim is conscious, encourage them to drink as much cool water as possible.
  5. Keep the victim quiet until help arrives.

This is all we will be considering for now, so till I come your way again, this is Goke Akingbade (your Safety Guide) wishing you a safe day.

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FATIGUE

FATIGUE

Hello there, this is Goke Akingbade (your Safety guide ) bringing you another interesting point of discussion. We will be looking at fatigue today.

Fatigue is defined as weariness or exhaustion from labor, exertion or stress. It is a workplace hazard. It is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace or at home.  Fatigue affects your ability to think clearly and act appropriately. It tends to make the individual worker less alert, less productive and more likely to incur injuries or get involved in accidents.

People who are fatigued can be unaware that they are not performing their work or task at their best. The worst case scenario is that they can drop off to sleep in the middle of the task, which can tend to have fatal consequences.

CAUSES OF FATIGUE

Fatigue is the end result of:

  • Inadequate sleep for repair and recovery of our body (in each 24-25 hour period)
  • Working out of harmony with your natural body clock (the natural cycle is to work during daylight and sleep when it is dark)
  • Extreme physical or mental exertion.

However, a range of contributing factors can increase the risk of fatigue. Some factors are work based and some personal, they are as follows:

  • Work scheduling, rostering or timing.
  • Workload that is machine paced, complex or monotonous, physically or mentally strenuous (or both).
  • The work environment e.g heat, cold, vibration, noise etc.
  • Workers lifestyle, family responsibilities, ill health.

People who do shift work and heavy vehicle drivers are particularly at risk of fatigue because their natural body clock and sleep rhythms are disrupted. For example research shows shift workers are 6 times more likely to be involved in a fatigue-related road crash than any other workers.

What can I do to reduce fatigue?

Tips for employers.

Fatigue is a workplace hazard, and it needs to be managed in the same way as other hazards. Employers can:                                                                                                                                            Manage the workplace environment and practices to minimise the factors that could contribute to fatigue.                                                                                                                                                           Make sure employees understand why they need to manage the risk of fatigue and how to minimise their fatigue level.                                                                                                                                         Encourage staff to manage their personal out of work fatigue risk factors.

Tips for employees.

  1. Work with your employer to manage fatigue-related risks in the workplace. Some simple things you can do at work are:                                                                                                                               Vary work tasks so you stay alert.
  2.     Take regular breaks.
  3. Notifty your supervisor or manager if you’re feeling fatigue
  4. Outside the work environment, you can reduce your risk of fatigue by:                                                     (a).Making sleep a priority; avoid cutting back on sleep in order to fit everything else in.                       (b).Improving the quality and quantity of your sleep; have a regular bed time routine.                           (c).Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and comfortable; get treatment for sleep disorders.             (d).Choose what you eat and drink carefully: eat light nutritious meals (heavy meals make you drowsy); drink plenty of water; minimise your caffeine and alcohol intake.

As with other workplace hazards, management and individuals need to work together to minimize the risk and the effect of fatigue.

The only cure for fatigue is sleep.

So till I come your way next time, it is Goke Akingbade signing off.