Farm Worker Fatality and how it could have been avoided

Farm Worker Fatality and how it could have been avoided

There has been another work-related fatality on a North Queensland farm last week. A backpacker from Belgium tragically passed away from what is believed to be heat stroke, while working on a watermelon farm in Ayr.

The temperature at Ayr last Tuesday, when the incident occurred, was 30.5OC. With temperatures heating up, this is a timely reminder that we need to take every precaution to keep ourselves and our employees safe.

Heat Stress occurs when heat is absorbed from the environment faster than your body can get rid of it. The type of work activity you are doing, the temperature and humidity and your physical condition are all factors that will impact on Heat Stress.

Painful muscle spasms or cramps, heavy sweating, difficulty in thinking clearly, slurred speech, blurred vision, dizziness or fainting could all be warning signs that you or your work colleague are suffering from heat stress.

Maintaining hydration is one of the most important strategies to counteract the effects of heat stress. To maintain hydration;

  • Start work well hydrated and maintain regular drinking to keep pace with sweat loss
  • Drink between 600ml and 1 litre of water per hour if working outdoors in summer
  • Drink 150-250ml of cool fluids every 15 minutes, rather than a lot of fluids on a less regular basis.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks like coke or coffee

Also, don’t forget to be sunsmart. See our previous blog on this subject HERE.

Heat Stress and Sun Safety are included in the TANDI Online Employee Induction training. If you would like more information on how to keep your employees safe, please see our website.