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Long, hot days of summer

28 Feb 2017

 

Summer is the favourite season for many of us. We love the long days, the hot weather and the chance to be outside. Whether socialising or working in the garden, summer is fun.

 

Last year, summer was incredibly hot, and workers were becoming tired and distracted by the middle of the afternoon.

 

Safewise would, on average, investigate two serious harm (now notifiable events) incidents a year for our clients. Last summer there were four in January alone.

 

Each of these involved different industries, different number of workers, and different outcomes. What they had in common was the temperature, the length of the workers’ shifts, and their return to work after a holiday.

 

As an employer, I ensure my workers have a reasonable break over the Christmas period. We take three weeks off, and there are a lot of long weekends at the beginning of the year. I expect my workers to come back refreshed, enthusiastic and ready to work. They do, but they also come back thinking about the time spent at the beach, the parties or family gatherings, and wishing it had lasted a bit longer. Sometimes they are focused on the next long weekend and getting back to the beach.
 

As PCBUs we need to take reasonably practicable steps to keep our workers safe and that includes their mental and physical states. We often ignore workers’ mental states, but a distracted worker is a dangerous worker. Spend time with your workers to ensure their minds are on the job. Go over your instructions and ask them to describe the processes they will be taking. If this is a new task, or one they have little experience with, think about refresher training.

 

The physical state of a worker is much easier to manage. Ensure they are protected from the weather with sunscreen and sunhats, but also they keep hydrated. Make cold water available to them, and plan the work so they are not outside, or making complex decisions, in the hottest part of the day.

 

Distraction and fatigue are two leading causes of accidents. A little consideration of the workers’ needs goes a long way towards preventing accidents. It will also give you a worker who is happy to be back..

 

How can Safewise Help?

Whether it's offering advise to maintain the safety and morale of your staff, or investigating a notifiable event, our consultants will do their best to ensure the safe and efficient running of your organisation. For information on how we can help you, contact us.

 

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