As record temperatures, wildfires and extreme weather events continue to cause devastation across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe this summer, employers are urged to take proactive measures to protect workers from the serious impacts of heat stress.
Dr Paul Robinson, managing director, Acumen Software, addressed industry leaders from across the MENA region in a webinar on applying a safety learning model to mitigate workplace risks, such as heat stress, employee welfare and sire visibility.
Data from 100,000 users of Acumen’s software, including 40 percent from the MENA region, found that 20 percent of workplace incidents were heat and weather-related. A further 40 percent of incidents involved labour safety and welfare.
“You only need to turn on the TV and see the horrific scenes from Rhodes and Corfu to realise that climate change is continuing to have an impact on lives and livelihoods,” says Dr Robinson. “Outdoor work, such as construction, will continue in these conditions because economies depend on it, so it is crucial that employers take the risks seriously.”
“Protecting employees who work in hot conditions makes sense on every level – it is a moral and legal responsibility for employers, and it makes good economic sense to ensure time is not lost to preventable heat-related injuries,” says Dr Robinson. “Key factors in protecting workers from heat stress include creating a company-wide culture of awareness, clear communication of the risks, regular self-checks and risk assessments, and making sure the right strategies are in place, such as providing adequate hydration at work, and ensuring compliance is easy and becomes second nature.”
Acumen’s software provides information, advice, warnings and solutions via an app that every employee can download to their phones. From weather alerts to reminders about safety checks and hydration breaks, Dr Robinson says using the app “means every employee has the tools they need to stay safe literally in their back pockets.”
“Our solutions have been used extensively in Qatar with great results,” Dr Robinson says. “It is well known that heat stress has been a serious issue for outdoor workers in Qatar, and users of the app have reported a massive reduction in incidents on their projects, as well as
improvements in closing-down issues.”
He says the reduction in incidents has led to a reduction in heat-related injuries, as well as better compliance with employee welfare regulations.
About Acumen Improve Safety: Acumen Improve Safety is a software company focused on solutions for safety and wellbeing. The Improve-Safety software can be used for a range of functions, including conducting compliance checks and inspections, staff training and sharing best practices across organisations via a user-friendly app. www.improve-safety.com
About HSSE Global: HSSE Global is an online portal to keep health, safety, security and environment professionals up to date with rules, regulations and information about the essential industries that employ millions of people worldwide. www.hsseglobal.com
Courtesy – Georgia Lewis
Image credit: Mohamod Fasil/Flickr