How to avoid falling sick during UAE's summer months


How to avoid falling sick during UAEs summer months

Dubai - Employers and employees must adopt a precautionary approach

By Web Report

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Published: Thu 15 Jun 2017, 1:35 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Jun 2017, 3:57 PM

Summer temperatures in the Middle East can reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius, making heat- related illness such as heat exhaustion, heat stress and heat stroke a very serious concern.
The blue-collar workers often work long hours, sometimes more than six hours straight, under the scorching heat - making the heavy labour unbearable.
The midday break has been made compulsory by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for workers from June 15 to September 15. The break is from 12.30pm to 3pm.
The Dubai Municipality has taken initiatives to raise awareness and educate the employers and workers about the consequences of these disorders.
The municipality's focus is on companies to improve the health and safety standards for workers.
In the current 'Safe and Healthy Summer Campaign', the focus of the Public Health and Safety Department of Dubai Municipality is on the employer.
The campaign guidelines contain basic information about heat-related illness - from employer or management inventions, workers responsibilities as well as precautionary measures to stay safe and healthy during summer.

What employers need to do:

Employers should take the following precautions to protect workers from heat stress:
They must make heat stress assessment, develop and implement stress management programme where a worker is or may be exposed to condition that could trigger heat-related disorders.
Must provide adequate training to all workers at risk and at least maintain the following steps:
·  How heat stress and heat stroke develop
·  How to prevent heat stress
·  Importance of monitoring yourself and co-workers for symptoms personal factors (like medical conditions, weight, etc.)
·  What to do if he or his co-worker develops heat illness at wok
·  Personal protective equipment
Employers must implement engineering or administrative control measures such as:
·  Schedule work to minimise heat exposure
·  Establish work and rest cycle or practise job rotation
·  Acclimatise workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environment.
·  Provide constant supply of cool drinking water and electrolyte replacement drink

·  Ensure arrangement of welfare facilities

·  Ensure proper arrangement for first aid or medical assistance in case of emergency

·  Provide adequate supervision to all workers concerned

·  Do not allow workers to work alone when heat stress is possible

What employees need to do:

Workers should take these precautions to avoid heat stress:
Be physically fit
Stay hydrated
Avoid oily food, heavy meals. Instead consume more fruits and vegetables.
Do not overexert or push yourself; if you are getting tired, slowdown or work at a steady pace.
Take regular breaks in cool or shaded areas.
Monitor your physical condition
Report any symptom or cases of heat rash or stress to your superior.

Symptoms of heat stress

High temperature combined with humidity leads to excessive sweating in an attempt to cool body. This causes various heat related illness and can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke if uncontrolled.

Safety problem

Human error on decision making and risk perception are primary causes or contribute to serious accidents
Dehydration is one of the important factors that affect the sense of bony position leading to accidents. Even mild dehydration leads to deterioration in short term memory, simple visual orientation and complex motor coordination.

Factors influencing heat stress

The heating and cooling balance in the body depends on the following factors:
Environment factors: Environment factors such as ambient air temperature, air movement, and relative humidity can affect an individual's response to heat.
Job factors: Job factors may include the work load and type of an individual as well as specific area or location of his work.
Personal risk factors:
·  Weight, age, etc.
·  Poor physical condition
·  Previous or recent illness/ medical condition
·  Lifestyle (lack of rest, eating, alcohol consumption)
·  Lack of acclimatisation
·  Good practise to prevent heat stress
·  Maintain hydration by drinking water and electrolyte for quick hydration
·  Personal hygiene - take shower before and after duty
·  Eat healthy food- avoid oily/fatty foods
·  Get enough rest and avoid caffeine, sodas
·  Acclimatise - let your body gradually adjust to the heat
·  Maintain hydration by drinking water and electrolyte for quick hydration
·  Urine check/ chart- check your urine colour for signs of dehydration
·  Wear comfortable loose cloths such as cotton
·  Use personal protective equipment like hats, sunscreens, coveralls
·  Schedule work to minimise heat exposure
·  Take rest breaks in a cool, shaded or ventilated area.
·  Learn to recognise symptoms of heat stress
·  Avoid working alone
·  Always report to your superior if you feel unwell in the course of duty

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