With climate change and urbanisation, Singapore has seen temperatures of 35 degrees upwards. In this sweltering heat, how can workers stay productive? We offer you a guide to working it while keeping cool under the sun.
Tip #1: Stay Out, Stay in
The hottest part of the day is between 11am to 3pm.
Employers should schedule their work to the cooler parts of the day for employees to maximise work potential while staying cool under the sun.
The WSH Council advises workers to stay shaded while working wherever possible, especially workers who have come from a cooler country two weeks before working in Singapore.
Tip #2: Hydration is Key
As temperatures get higher, our water intake should increase too.
Our body naturally perspires to cool the body. According to Parkwayeast.com, a health web resource by Parkway East Hospital, the excess heat from your body is lost to the atmosphere through evaporation, regulating your body at an optimal temperature.
Dehydration occurs when the human body does not receive enough water to replenish the fluids lost through sweat.
Workers should aim to have at least 250ml of water every 30 minutes of working outdoors.
Employers can also consider providing isotonic drinks for workers to replenish salts and minerals lost while working.
Tip #3: Stay Alert, Stay Aware
Employers should be well-equipped with the knowledge of how to spot the warning signs of heat injury in the workplace. Heat injuries such as heat stroke are common in Singapore, exacerbated by our hot and humid climate.
Symptoms of a heat stroke include headache, nausea, confusion, drowsiness, and fainting. In addition, external symptoms could show in the form of hot and flushed skin.
Employees should let their employers know their physical state, especially on days when the mercury is pushed high on the thermometer.
Employers can consider establishing buddy systems between workers to ensure everyone’s health status at work.
Tip #4: Look out for heat stroke
Prevention is better than cure. However, suppose one notices a fellow worker exhibiting signs of heat stroke. In that case, it is advised to stop work immediately and call 995 for an ambulance.
A heat stroke card published by the Workplace Safety and Health Council advises the following steps when dealing with a heat stroke victim at work:
It is best to move the affected person to a shady area and loosen the person’s clothing to allow air circulation.
Apply cool water and have a fan on the person. It is also advisable to place ice packs under the person’s armpits and groin area.
Tip #5: Sunlight, Dress Light
We are often advised to wear loose clothing in summer. Why is that?
Wearing loose clothing allows air to pass along the skin and exit, speeding evaporation and carrying off excess heat.
When working outdoors, workers should wear as loose clothing as possible. Wearing clothing made of cotton and dri-fit material allows the workers to carry out tasks in comfort while dealing with the warm weather in Singapore.