October 7, 2020

The growing threat of heat stress

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Millions across the globe could be at risk of heat stress which may cause fatigue, drowsiness or in extreme circumstances kidney failure.

The effect of global warming may have significant effects on humans and more many it may become ‘too hot to work’.

This has been greatly enhanced by Covid-19 and the effect of PPE. PPE does not allow sweat to be released therefore the body is not able to cool down. Furthermore, in hospitals air conditioning is limited to prevent the spread of the virus. Hospital workers in the current situation are increasingly at risk of heat stress.

Heat stress will have large mental effects too. One hospital worker in Singapore has noticed that workers are being short with each other and increasingly irritable. For healthcare workers this could become dangerous as it may well diminish abilities to make on the spot decisions that could be lifesaving.

Heat stress is when the body is unable to cool down resulting in its core temperature rising to dangerous levels and key organs can shut down. It happens when the main technique for getting rid of excess heat – the evaporation of sweat on the skin – is unable to take place because the air is too humid.

Increasing temperatures due to climate change will also cause an increase in this. By the end of the century it is predicted that heat stress will impact five times as many people as it does now.

Solutions are simple, drink regularly and take breaks when you feel fatigues. Businesses will also have to take precautions to stop heat stress. This could be in the form of air conditioning, longer breaks for workers and others. If precautions are not taken, then businesses could be liable for any injuries resulting from heat stress.

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01245 449060.