After record-breaking temperatures in the summer of 2018 and with spring forecasts already expecting above average temperatures, it’s looking like we’ll have a hotter and dryer summer this year.
Heat exposure is a common cause of worker dehydration and there are a number of other factors that contribute to dehydration, ranging from the climate, the nature of the work, lifestyle, and the work environment
Fatigue is an early symptom of dehydration where workers tend to get distracted, lose focus, have slower reaction times and be less alert. This creates an unsafe work environment increasing the number of site injuries for those operating plant and heavy machinery, working at heights or handling hazardous substances.
In order to avoid dehydration and the onset of fatigue, we’ve provided an overview of the key causes of dehydration:
Projections of Australian temperatures indicate we can expect to see an increase in more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.
Working under direct sunlight or being exposed to high air temperatures and humidity is common in the construction and mining industries.
Nature of the work
Sometimes the nature of the work itself can contribute to dehydration. Physically intense activity, the duration of the activity or being required to wear PPE such as coveralls, respirators, or face shields are also contributing factors to dehydration.
Tough work environments with heavy machinery or hot work processes can expose workers to radiant heat, easily causing overheating if the teams aren’t sufficiently hydrated.
Being physically unfit or having alcohol in the system puts workers at higher risk of dehydration and fatigue. It’s also been found that it is more likely in overweight and obese workers. Others at risks are 65+ y.o, those on certain medications and with health conditions such as heart disease.
If teams are not properly hydrated any of these factors can raise the normal body temperature, leading to overheating which can causing heat stroke or even death.
Download The 4 Causes of Worker Dehydration