Employers in Hong Kong are advised to take appropriate precautions to prevent heatstroke in hot or humid work environments.
The Labour Department reminded employers to assess the heat stress in the work environment and take appropriate preventive measures.
Senior Occupational Health Officer, Dr Ng Kwok-po, said, “Heatstroke can occur if an employee works in a hot or humid environment for prolonged periods of time when the body may fail to regulate its temperature by effective heat dissipation through sweating. construction workers or road repair workers, kitchen workers and porters are more prone to have heatstroke when working for long hours in such an environment with no appropriate preventive measures taken.”
The following are some precautions:
- Take heed of the weather report and make arrangements for employees to rotate to other worksites within the shift to reduce their exposure to the hot environment, or to arrange appropriate rest breaks for them during very hot periods;
- Avoid working under direct sunlight and set up temporary sunshade wherever possible;
- Provide cool potable water for employees at all times during work. If necessary, provide drinks containing minerals for employees to replenish loss of electrolytes during profuse sweating;
- Minimise physical demands by using tools or mechanical aids at work;
- Increase air flow by enhancing ventilation or air conditioning as appropriate;
- Isolate heat generating facilities at the workplace and use insulating materials to minimise heat dissipation to the other work areas; and
- Provide relevant information and training for employees on heat stroke such as preventive measures and first aid treatment.