How to keep your cool and stay safe this summer

24 January 2023

Question: Why to stay safe this summer

Weather in summer can be unpredictable and incredibly hot, bringing about extra risks when working outdoors in agriculture. Two key safety issues to consider when outdoors are sun exposure, which can lead to skin cancer, and heat exhaustion.

When unprotected skin is exposed to UV radiation, the structure and behaviour of the cells can change. As the third most common cancer in Australia, melanoma affects more than 13,000 Australians every year. Outdoor workers receive up to 10 times more UV radiation exposure than indoor workers, significantly increasing their risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma.

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Heath exhaustion is when your body can't cool itself and you absorb more heat from your environment than you can get rid of, through sweating or other cooling mechanisms. Symptoms of heat illness include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, cramps, heavy sweating, impaired judgement, loss of concentration, clumsiness, collapse, cold and clammy skin. It is important you don't ignore these signs and if you notice them in your workers, seek immediate medical attention.

To learn more on how to stay safe this summer, see our blog at Safe Ag Systems.

Question: How to stay safe this summer

Here are our tips and tricks to keep you safe from the sun this summer! To help you know what's normal on your skin and what's not, use the SunSmart ABCD guide when checking your skin:

  • A = Asymmetry, look for spots that are asymmetrical (one half of the spot doesn't match the other).
  • B = Border, look for spots with uneven borders. Melanoma is often flat with an uneven, smudgy outline.
  • C = Colour, look for spots with an unusual or uneven colour. Maybe blotchy and more than one colour - brown, black, blue, grey or red.
  • D = Diameter, look for spots that are larger than 7mm

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Some things to consider to reduce the risk of sun exposure, heat stress and keep you cool include:

  • Rescheduling outdoor tasks to early in the morning or late in the afternoon when UV and heat are lower
  • Provide rest breaks in cool areas
  • Rotate staff so it's not always the same people outside
  • Wear light clothing that provides adequate sun protection
  • Provide protection for your workers such as a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and shade cloth, plus ensure there is plenty of cool drinking water available nearby.

To learn more on how to stay safe this summer, see our blog at Safe Ag Systems.

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