Heat stress is a risk for all personnel working on site, but it is particularly relevant for those working with heavy machinery like cranes. Heat stress can cause dizziness or lightheadedness, and even loss of consciousness in extreme cases. If this occurs during use of heavy machinery like cranes, it could cause the operator to harm themselves or others on the building sites. This is particularly relevant to crane operators who are at height, and therefore are exposed to sunlight and heat from all directions throughout use. It’s also very important to be mindful of in the Australian climate, which can be extremely harsh and unforgiving.
There are some easy things you can do to keep you, your personnel and your crane operators safe and avoid heat stress these include:
Knowledge truly is power. When you understand what heat stress is and how you can avoid it, you can take the steps necessary to be safe in hot weather. That’s true for your employees and staff too. If you can educate them on the dangers of heat stress, they are more likely to be safe.
Providing ready access to water is vital, but so is actually drinking it! Many of us know that it’s important to stay hydrated but can be lazy about staying mindful of our actual thirst levels. So encourage your staff to drink in hot weather, and do so yourself.
It’s a common myth that humans need 4-6 glasses of water per day. In actual fact we should just drink when thirsty. But in hot weather it is important to know we sweat more, and might need to drink a bit more as a result.
It’s important that you don’t overdo it on hot periods of the year. Allow yourself and your personnel to take breaks and switch out more frequently at this time. It’s not about being lazy, it’s about getting the most out of your employees by keeping them safe and healthy. This is particularly important for crane operation, as staying safe around cranes is important for everyone on site.
Heat stress is a real threat to health, so it is important to take it seriously and stay safe in hot weather to prevent it. You can account for the increased risk by allowing staff to work a little less in the heat and take breaks where needed. It’s particularly important to keep an eye on everyone to make sure they are feeling ok.
Depending on how many individuals are on site, it may be worth designating one individual to monitor the weather and decide if more action needs to be taken, and to keep an eye on everyone for signs of heat stress, and make the call on whether they need rest or rehydration.
Choosing clothing that is both protective for the on-site hazards, but also minimizes the risk of heat stress, can be a real challenge. This is why its important to monitor the site conditions and individuals for signs of heat stress. Encourage people to wear hats, sunglasses and long sleeves to prevent sunburn.
Wildmans Cranes knows Sydney and its climate, and we want all of our crane hire clients to stay safe in the sun and the heat. While heat stress might seem a small thing, it can develop into something serious, so we encourage you to think about it when the mercury starts rising!
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