Hot tips for a safe and productive Summer

Spring is here and with Summer just around the corner, now is a good time to make sure your operators and equipment are equipped to perform safely in the heat. Heat kills more Australians than any natural disaster.

Before the hot weather sets in, make sure your team are well-equipped and trained to cope with the effects of heat. It’s a good idea to focus on these topics when conducting heat safety training:

  • Heat stress: There are a range of complications that can arise when the body gets overheated. These can include mild dehydration, heat rash, fainting, cramping, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Heat-related illnesses: Training your team to recognise and manage symptoms of heat-related illnesses can save lives. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, fainting and clammy skin. More severe is heat stroke which is accompanied by dry pale no skin (no sweating), hot red-coloured skin, seizures, fits and unconsciousness.
  • What to do in an emergency: It’s a good idea to make sure that everyone in your team knows what to do in the event of an emergency and how to respond if someone shows signs of heat exhaustion and heat stress.
    • Call 000
    • Move them to a shady or air-conditioned area
    • Lay the co-worker down and have their feet elevated
    • Provide drinking water

Everyone can do their bit to stay safe in the warmer weather.

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Eat properly and don’t skip meals
  • Wear lightweight and preferably light-coloured clothing
  • If you feel dizzy or lightheaded on a hot day make your supervisor or those around you aware and find a cool area to take a brief break
  • Keep an eye on your co-workers – if you see someone struggling offer help and alert others around you

Your fleet needs protection too

Extreme heat can also impact on your earthmoving equipment. Here are some tips to help you protect your fleet in the warmer weather:

  • Increase your machine inspections: Make sure your operators are checking all the necessary items including hydraulic fluid level, coolant level, radiator cap seal and pressure, engine oil level, hoses, tyres and tyre pressure.
  • Pay attention to operator practices: Things to focus on are controlled travel speed, steady acceleration and smooth shifting.
  • Monitor temperature and pressures: This will help identify potential problems before they turn into costly repairs.
  • Store equipment safely: Out of the sun and in a dry, sheltered space is the best place when equipment is not in use.

Summer brings new challenges to the jobsite and to your team, but is can also be a time for great opportunities. Ensuring your team is trained and prepared to handle extreme heat, as well as having a well-maintained fleet, will ensure you’re ready to work when the going gets hot.

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