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    Science of Safety Podcast: Episode 60.

    November 21, 2019
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    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 60:
    Managing Heat Stress - Part 1.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 60:
    Managing Heat Stress - Part 1.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 60:
    Managing Heat Stress - Part 1.

    In this episode Dr Ross Di Corleto, Principal Consultant and Director of Monitor Consulting Services joins host Mark Reggers for the first of a two-part series on heat stress & strain in the workplace.

    Heat stress and heat strain are two different terms that are often incorrectly interchanged, using one phrase for the other. Heat stress refers to the net heat load to which a worker is exposed through physical exertion, environmental factors, and clothing worn. Heat strain is the body’s physiological response to heat stress, resulting in sweating, increased heart rate and elevated core temperature. Heat stress leads to heat strain which can give rise to heat-related illnesses or death if not managed correctly.

      

             

        

    Guest Bio:

    Dr Ross Di Corleto (pictured left) is currently the Principal Consultant and Director of Monitor Consulting Services based in Brisbane. He has been involved in occupational health & safety and occupational hygiene for 35 years with experience in the power industry, mining and refining, nationally and internationally. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science, Post Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hygiene, a Master of Science by research in heat stress, and a PhD in occupational health and is Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland. He is a certified occupational hygienist, a Fellow & Past President of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists and a Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia.

    Dr Ross’ area of particular interest includes heat stress and the thermal environment and he has authored a number of papers & documents in the area. He has been involved in the development and presentation of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in occupational health and has lectured at a number of Australian Universities.

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    In this episode, Mark & Ross discuss the following:

     
    • Are heat stress and heat strain the same thing?
    • How does the body handle warm/hot environments to maintain a constant internal temperature of about 37°C and what are the consequences if we get it wrong?
    • How does heat stress impact productivity?
    • What happens if we ignore the initial signs and symptoms of heat stress?
    • What are some heat stress risk factors workplaces should be aware of to help them with basic thermal risk assessment?
    • Are there only short-term issues with heat?
    • We know that an important control is maintaining fluid intake but how much should individuals drink?
    • What does drinking electrolytes do for workers in hot environments?
    • When should workplaces consider hydration testing for their workers?
    • What does legislation say about heat stress in the workplace and what obligations do workplaces need to meet?
    • How do workplaces go about undertaking risk assessments when it comes to hot working environments?
    • How are hot environments assessed for a Level 2 thermal risk assessment? Is it just by temperature?
    • Is the assessment process just about determining how long you can work in a hot area?
    • What is involved with a Level 3 thermal risk assessment and when is it used?
    • If workplaces need help in undertaking specific heat stress risk assessments, where should they go?
    • Where can workplaces get more information on assessing and managing hot environments?

    There are many methods to manage heat stress, it is not just about the exposure and hydration. In the workplace, risks need to be assessed and prioritised, ensuring obligations are met and associated health and safety risks effectively managed. It’s important to understand that much of the impact of heat happens earlier than when we start to see the clinical symptoms of cramps and exhaustion. Once it reaches the heat illness stage we have left it too long, we need to catch it a lot earlier than that point. Working in hot and or humid environments can be uncomfortable, but more importantly, can lead to heat-related illnesses, which can be fatal. Tune in as we take an in-depth look at heat stress and the assessment and management of these working environments to ensure worker safety.

     

    Additional Resources:

    Contact a 3M Safety Specialist at scienceofsafetyanz@mmm.com for more information.