There’s no doubt about it, this summer has been a hot one!
Even the most committed hot-weather lover would have to admit to having their stamina impacted in some way by the searing heat.
For most of us, the intensity of the Australian sun affects multiple aspects of our day-to-day lives, leaving us exhausted and weary, not to mention a little cranky.
Anything that required exertion can feel too much to bear, and work is no different.
“Whether the office or the great outdoors is your domain, working through the hotter months does present a unique set of challenges,” says EML Team Leader Simon W.
“Regardless of your working environment, ineffective management in hotter temperatures presents the issue of rising body temperatures, and the flow on effect to conditions like heat stroke and even death,” says Simon.
For those working outdoors or with heavy machinery or technical equipment, the risks are even greater.
“The risks of injury rise in line with impaired decision making and slower reaction times.
“For individuals whose workflow involves machinery, tools or equipment, such as tradespeople and first responders, a reduction in physical capacity and mental clarity increases the chances of issues.”
One of the biggest consequences of very high temperatures is dehydration, with many workers forgetting to drink increased amounts of water, more frequently.
“Hydration for the most part means water, or associated liquid that actually rehydrates the body – not soft drink or alcohol,” says Simon.
“Electrolyte-based drinks are useful for speeding up the hydration process and for replenishing the salts your body loses naturally as you sweat, however, these drinks are typically quite sugar-loaded, so do be mindful of not overdoing it.”
It’s also important not to wait until you feel thirsty to start drinking. When you’re busy at work, it’s easy to forget about grabbing a glass of water, so having a bottle on you is a good idea.
“Chances are, if that parched feeling has already arrived, you’re dehydrated!
“Be progressive not excessive. Aim to consume smaller amounts of water through the day, rather than trying to hit your target in one sitting – definitely not the most comfortable on the gut, and with the frequent trips to the bathroom you’re more likely to lose most of the value you are trying to obtain.
“Under normal circumstances, a solid benchmark for water intake should be 1 litre per 25kg of bodyweight – seems like a lot, but it’s very achievable.”
Take a break
Along with looking after your hydration, plan to keep on top of your heat management strategy throughout the day, suggests Simon.
“This includes taking breaks throughout the day, especially if you are based outside, to remove yourself from chronic heat sources like the sun.
“Even if you are inside, be mindful of hotter areas of your building, like kitchens and large power sources, and minimise your exposure as much as possible.”