Sun Safety: Working in extreme heat

The Concept operations team work in some of the most remote parts of the country and are used to working under extreme conditions. From high winds and scorching temperatures to flooding rain and even snow our installation teams have seen it all.

Our most recent project is a 2.2ML Concept Tank installation in outback South Australia, where the ambient temperatures have reached over 47°C with very little cloud cover and extreme UV ratings.

Peter Tunney – one of Concept’s project managers, shares some insights into how our teams manage to deliver our projects on time in extreme heat.

What is the most important thing to remember when working in extreme heat?

“Keep fluid intake up, 250ml every 15 minutes, and look out for your mate because you don’t always notice the onset of heat stress in yourself.”

How do you manage fatigue?

“We try to allocate the more physically demanding work to cooler parts of the day and we take frequent breaks on those extremely hot days.”

Where does responsibility for safety rest?

“It is up to the individual but when it comes to heat you need to work as a team and look after each other.”

Why work in extreme conditions?

“Sometimes it is just a requirement of the job, providing secure fluid storage where and when it’s required.”

How do you monitor conditions?

“We constantly monitor weather conditions via smart phone apps through the bureau of meteorology and the info clients provide. We also use thermometers to monitor the temperature of equipment and materials.”

When do you take breaks?

“As the temperature rises, we take frequent breaks in a dedicated air-conditioned crib or in our vehicles.”

What are your top tips for working in extreme heat?

  1. Know the weather conditions at the planning stage and allow more time for project delivery.
  2. Schedule more demanding work at cooler times of the day.
  3. Have plenty of fluid on site, not just water but electrolytes as well as.
  4. Look after your mate and know the signs of heat stress and dehydration.