While it may be freezing cold in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere is battling some of the worst heat and drought that they’ve had for some time. Australia, in particular, is dealing with fires at every angle, and this is mainly due to climate change.
The summer months are a time for sun, sea, and sand, but if you’re in the office and trying to work, you’re going to feel something very different. You’re going to feel uncomfortable, especially if the office is poorly ventilated or you’re working outdoors.
Surviving through a heatwave that has been so extreme that fires are breaking out country-wide is not always easy. However, the body is excellent at maintaining an excellent average temperature of 37 degrees. When the weather is too extreme, the risk of complications is higher.
Trying to work through an Australian heatwave is something that not everyone has to experience, but it’s because of this unrelenting heat that you need to learn the risks to your health to be aware of how to act. Employers have a duty of care to their staff to ensure that they are coping well in the heat without suffering the adverse side effects of the “good” weather.
Monitoring the temperature in the workplace is one way that employers can do well for their staff, with help from companies like MTA; this is possible. The temperature of the workplace will impact their work performance, how they feel comfortable, and whether they can continue their working day.
If you are an employer, there is plenty that you can do to ensure that your staff is working well. Let’s take a look.
Closely Monitoring Thermal Comfort
Did you know that there is no formal law to working in a heatwave? It’s very much common sense and keeping an eye on the temperatures. The law, however, does demand that you provide a workplace that is safe and well ventilated. Of course, this is a little harder with outdoor workers, but it’s essential to know when to say when and send people home.
Introducing Air Conditioning
If you can add air conditioning to your workplace, you should look into it before the spring and summer months begin. You’ll be able to keep the workplace temperatures low enough to be comfortable compared to the outside temperatures, and you’ll encourage staff to be productive and motivated as a result!
Free Drinks All Round!
Water should be on offer all day long in your business, so set up regular hydration stations around the office and encourage ice and reusable containers that will keep your water cold. It’s the perfect branding opportunity in your business, as people will be able to use a product with your name on!
Information is power when it comes to working through a heatwave. If people are aware of how the heat can harm them and their day, as well as recognise the signs and symptoms of heatstroke, they’ll be able to self-impose their limits.
Climate change is not a joke, and while Australia is well-known for its beaches and beautiful scenery, it’s not worth people falling ill for. So, the best thing that everyone can do - whether an employee of yours or not - is to learn how to look after themselves in the heat. Here are just a few of the things that can help during the Australian heatwave:
Hydrate. On average, we need 2-3 litres of water through drinking and eating in the day. When it’s hot, you’re going to lose way more water than usual. Keeping up with water intake every hour is going to keep you hydrated and help you to sweat when you need to sweat.
Avoid Sugary Drinks. In the heat, it’s so tempting to reach for a can of something delicious, or a cold coffee. However, the sugar intake will prevent you from being able to absorb as much water. If you’re aching for something sweet, go for water that has slices of fruit infusing it. Keep it chilled in the fridge, and you’re good to go.
Aim For Watery Food. A fifth of our water intake comes from our food. It’s for this reason that we need to think about filling up on things like cucumbers, watermelons, strawberries, and broccoli. These are only a few of the foods you could eat that will hydrate you at the same time.
Slow Down The Workouts. Swimming is a better idea than running. Regular yoga over hot yoga. Walk on a treadmill under an air conditioning unit instead of in the sunshine. You get the picture! Heatstroke can kill, and the last thing that you want to do is overdo it on the workouts. Coping with a heatwave in Australia is hard enough without you collapsing because you went for a run.
Stay Cool. Remain in the shade, immerse yourself in the swimming pools and keep damp face cloths in the fridge to freshen your face a few times a day. Water spritzers are also a good idea so that you can stay as cool as possible. The droplets keep you cool via evaporation, so whether you are at home or at work, it’ll help.
Australia is on fire right now - these news articles will confirm it - and you need to keep life going as much as possible. Keep going to work, but listen to your body. Where possible, stay in areas that are air-conditioned and wear light clothes. Slap on a hat, slip on your sandals, and slop on some suncream. Keep hydrated, and don’t wait to feel thirsty.
Your health in the Upside Down part of the world is essential, and this means being aware of the temperature and its effects. Educate yourself on how to work safely, live safely, and be safe from the fires and the heat, and you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful summer while the UK freezes just a little bit more in time for Christmas!