6 November 2018 / Safety Alert

Working in Hot Conditions

Awareness, education and preparedness are the key factors in recognising and countering the potential risk to health of workers when working in hot environments.

What is Heat Related Illness?

Heat related illnesses occur when heat builds up in the body faster than the body can lose it. Excess body heat can occur when a person is exposed to extremes of temperature and humidity, and when generated from exertion or physical activity.

Factors that may contribute to heat related illnesses:

  • the temperature/humidity and movement of the surrounding air
  • the type and duration of work activity
  • an persons physical condition, in particular when not acclimatised to conditions and/or activity
  • insufficient hydration
  • medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes) and some medications and substances.

How do we recognise the symptoms?

Heat related illness can range from mild heat rash or cramps through to heat exhaustion.

Some of the key warning signs include:

  • muscles spasms or cramps
  • heavy sweating in the early stages, and in the latter stages no sweating at all
  • abnormal displays of confusion
  • slurred speech
  • blurred vision dizziness or fainting.

What can we do about it?

Reducing the onset of a heat related illness can be achieved by applying the following considerations;

  • rescheduling work so the hot tasks are performed during the cooler part of the day;
  • where possible, reducing the time spent doing hot tasks (for example, by job rotation);
  • where possible, arranging for more Workers to do the job;
  • providing extra rest breaks in a cool area;
  • providing cool drinking water and ice (machines) near the work site.
  • increasing air movement by fans or coolers
  • installing shade cloth to reduce radiant heat from the sun
  • giving consideration to working an eight hour day
  • Educating Workers with respect to hydration and heat and fatigue management.

The following ‘Hydration Chart’ is a quick and easy way for workers to monitor their hydration level as one process in the steps to avoiding heat related illness. These Hydration Charts should be placed in site toilet and other prominent locations as prompts for all workers.

Outcome

Through the application of this safety alert workers should be able to monitor themselves and their mates whilst working in hot conditions and avoid unnecessary injury or illness as a result of the hot weather conditions.

What do we do in Extreme Hot Weather

Where the temperature reaches 35oC there will be an orderly cessation of work and preparations for the safe completion of critical task that are underway and/or applicable modifications to the workload.

Where the temperature is 28oC and the relative humidity is 75% or more after three hours from the commencement of a shift there will be an orderly cessation of work and preparations for the safe completion of critical task that are underway and/or applicable modifications to the workload.

If there are areas of the workplace that are below these climatic conditions work shall continue as normal in those areas. Employees unable to work elsewhere may be transferred to these areas if work is available. Employees may walk a reasonable distance through the open to and from amenities, provided it does not pose an imminent risk to their health or safety. The primary objective is to ensure that there is no reasonable concern for risk to the health or safety of an Employee undertaking the work.

The onset of these climatic conditions is the trigger to implement Heat Management controls and to redeploy workers to other areas of the site that is not impacted to the extent of the temperature and humidity guidelines. Extreme hot weather shall be measured on site by a temperature gauge which is compliant to the relevant Australian Standards and shall be undertaken in accordance with the manufacturers operating instructions and/or BOM weather station. There are a number of appropriate temperature gauges that meet this criteria, of which the Wet Bulb device is one.

Hydration Chart

Heat Stroke

Problem

Heat Stroke is a medical emergency situation. Symptoms may include fatigue, confusion, and lack of strength, visual disturbances, aggressiveness, convulsing and unconsciousness.

Response

Call an ambulance and apply urgent first aid. Remove outer clothing, wet the skin and move patient to a cool/air-conditioned space.

Heat Exhaustion

Problem

Heat exhaustion can occur over a several days and be characterised by a progressive decline in work performance, lack of appetite, headaches, cold clammy pale skin, rapid weak pulse, and nausea and vomiting. The patient may be weak and could collapse.

Response

Stop exertion, lay person in the shade, remove outer clothing, provide cool water and move to air-conditioned space If symptoms are severe or do not improve, seek medical attention.

Heat Cramps

Problem

Painful muscle cramps of the limbs and/or abdomen, twitching, tingling or pins and needles in the hands and feet. Heat Cramps may be due to dehydration and/or an electrolyte imbalance.

Response

Stop exertion and rest quietly in a cool place. Increase fluid intake using cool water. Remove outer clothing (e.g. hard hat, boots, and shirt) and move to an air-conditioned space.

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5 March / Public Holiday

Tuesday 5 March 2019 (TAS only)

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19 March / Weather Alert

Severe Tropical Cyclone Trevor continues to move west-southwest towards the eastern Cape York Peninsula coast. It is expected to cross the coast just south of Lockhart River late this afternoon or early evening. The cyclone will most likely cross as a high end category 3 system, but further intensification to category 4 cannot be ruled out.

The cyclone will weaken as it crosses the northern Peninsula tonight and Wednesday, but is expected to remain a category 1 cyclone until it enters the Gulf of Carpentaria later on Wednesday. It is expected to reintensify rapidly once it enters the Gulf of Carpentaria and track towards the Northern Territory.

Consider all site housekeeping and remove loose waste and material from roofs, scaffold, balconies and open areas (hardstands / laydown) and ensure site fences are well supported with the minimum bracing (every second panel for scrim & every panel for hoarded).

General advice in storms

  • Move cars under cover or away from trees. 
  • Secure loose outdoor items. 
  • Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees. 
  • Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • Beware of fallen trees and powerlines. 
  • For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.

People between Orford Ness and Cape Melville and adjacent inland areas (including Lockhart River and Coen), should complete preparations quickly and be prepared to shelter in a safe place.

People in western Cape York Peninsula between Mapoon and Pormpuraaw (including Weipa and Aurukun) should immediately commence or continue preparations, especially securing boats and property, using available daylight hours.

Hazards

The VERY DESTRUCTIVE CORE of the cyclone, with extreme gusts up to 220 km/h, will make landfall near Lockhart River later this afternoon.

DESTRUCTIVE WINDS, with gusts in excess of 125 km/h are expected between Cape Grenville and Coen. These DESTRUCTIVE WINDS will move some way inland with the cyclone tonight.

GALES, with gusts in excess of 90 km/h, are expected in coastal areas between Orford Ness and Cape Melville today and tonight. These GALES are expected to extend inland over the Peninsula overnight and on Wednesday as the cyclone moves inland to include areas between Mapoon and Pormppuraaw during Wednesday. Gales are possible later Wednesday further north between Cape York and Mapoon if the cyclone takes a more northerly track than forecast.

As the cyclone crosses the coast, a STORM TIDE is expected between Lockhart River and Cape Melville, including Princess Charlotte Bay. During Wednesday, a STORM TIDE is also expected between Cape Keerweer and Mapoon on the western Peninsula Coast. LARGE WAVES may produce minor flooding along the foreshore. People living in these areas are likely to be affected by flooding and should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to help their neighbours.

ABNORMALLY HIGH TIDES are also expected around the Wednesday morning high tide for the far northeast Queensland coast, north of Port Douglas.

HEAVY RAINFALL, which may lead to flash flooding, is forecast across far north Queensland today and continuing over the next few days. A Flood Warning is current for the Daintree and Mossman rivers as well as a broader Flood Watch for catchments north of Innisfail to Kowanyama.

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18 March / Weather Alert

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Dalby, Ipswich, Kingaroy, Coolangatta, Caboolture, Cleveland, Gatton and Jimboomba.

Consider all site housekeeping and remove loose waste and material from roofs, scaffold, balconies and open areas (hardstands / laydown) and ensure site fences are well supported with the minimum bracing (every second panel for scrim & every panel for hoarded).

Summary of weather

Storms are likely across Australia in several regions and cities. Please monitor the live radar below for a national summary.

General advice in storms

  • Move cars under cover or away from trees. 
  • Secure loose outdoor items. 
  • Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees. 
  • Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • Beware of fallen trees and powerlines. 
  • For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.
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15 March / Weather Alert

Severe thunderstorms are expected to become more extensive this afternoon and evening. Currently, the primary risks are damaging wind gusts and large hail, however this will transition to heavy rain later this afternoon and evening, particularly across the far southeast.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Warwick, Toowoomba, Dalby, Roma, Kingaroy, Ipswich, Gatton, Jimboomba, Laidley, Lowood, Nanango and Tara.

Consider all site housekeeping and remove loose waste and material from roofs, scaffold, balconies and open areas (hardstands / laydown) and ensure site fences are well supported with the minimum bracing (every second panel for scrim & every panel for hoarded).

Summary of weather

Storms are likely across Australia in several regions and cities. Please monitor the live radar below for a national summary.

General advice in storms

  • Move cars under cover or away from trees. 
  • Secure loose outdoor items. 
  • Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees. 
  • Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • Beware of fallen trees and powerlines. 
  • For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.
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12 March / Quality

Recently, some CodeMark Certifications for a number of widely-used ACP cladding products were withdrawn following an audit by JAS-ANZ. 

For further information on the withdrawal and why it came about, as well as the specific products affected, please see the links to the press releases at the end of this alert.  

How does this affect Hutchies?

Authorities/clients/consultants have already expressed confusion over the validity of the CodeMark Certificates on both past and current projects. 

In some cases, fire brigades have been resistant to CodeMark Certificates, so Hutchies has already been insisting on including ACP usage in a project Fire Engineering Report (FER) for some time.

The withdrawal of these CodeMark Certifications essentially makes it mandatory to do this now.

What do I need to do from here?

Please ensure your façade submissions to the Quality Team includes the FER without reference to the Codemark Certificates. 

Façade submissions to the Quality Team are mandatory for ALL projects, without exception.

Please ensure a fire engineer reviews and produces the FER for the use of ACP products. 

This needs to be backed by the Building Surveyor/Certifier and approved by the fire brigade as necessary. Performance solutions on life safety includes external walls and is a legislated requirement as noted in the Quality Handbook Topic 21.

What about existing projects which were covered by the withdrawn CodeMark Certifications?

CertMark International has advised that any projects completed prior to the withdrawal of the current certificates are still covered by the withdrawn certificate. More information on this is contained in the CertMark press release.

However, despite this, some authorities appear to be resisting acceptance of the CodeMark Certificate on projects commenced prior to the withdrawal that do not have final certification/occupancy certificates in place.

Please clarify with your consultants on any current projects to be certain there are no issues down the track at completion. It may be necessary to have the fire engineer amend the FER to avoid reliance on any CodeMark Certificate.

Don’t delay. 

Ensure this check is completed immediately and ensure the determination is provided unconditionally by the Building Surveyor/Certifier. Unconditionally means not subject to other conditions such as fire brigade acceptance. 

We need to be certain this will not delay completion on any current projects!

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11 - 14 March / Safety Alert

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued warnings for low to locally severe intensity heatwave conditions over southern QLD and northeastern NSW.

Please ensure you stay hydrated, wear appropriate protection (clothing, hats, sunscreen etc) and look out for your mates. 

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5 March / Update

Over the last two years, Hutchies has been subject to over 130 site visits, inspections and audits by ABCC inspectors. In each instance, we are confident that Hutchies’ Site Management Teams have demonstrated Hutchies’ compliance with the Building Code applying to each project.

Whilst evidence of compliance is encouraging, there is no sign that the volume of inspections and the focus on Hutchies’ projects is reducing. It is therefore essential that Hutchies’ teams remain vigilant in the area of Building Code compliance and that you contact Ben Young on 0400 577 953 if there is any aspect of the Code that requires clarification. Two particularly useful resources to refresh your understanding of the Code are Hutchies’ Site Management Industrial Relations Guides and the Building Code Self Audit.

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4 March / Update

Hutchies has updated its company policies in line with the expiration of our existing suite. These policies contain important standards that Hutchies has in place for our business – please take the time to refresh yourself on them.

Please also update any existing policies you may have:

  • Framed in offices and sites (at a minimum all offices and sites should have Work Health & Safety, Environmental & Quality)
  • In project Specific Management Plans, Manuals and / or Procedures 

We have sourced affordable standard clear frames if you would like to update yours. You can purchase them here.

The new policies can be downloaded below. They are also available on Hutchies' website (public) and the Doc Library.

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8 March / Observation

International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world?
Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
Get everything you need to run a successful International Women's Day right here.

#BalanceforBetter

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