Things you can do personally
- Drink 150-220ml of water every 15-20 minutes
- Make sure you eat during the shift
- A gradual introduction to the climate makes acclimatisation easier
- Seek occupational medical advice if you are taking medication or suffering from illness
- Avoid alcohol
Heat can affect two persons in the same location differently. It comes down to physical fitness/health age, medication, diet, pre-existing medical conditions, personal management of hydration, and differing rates of physical exertion.
Adequate ventilation plays a pivotal role in managing temperature in confined spaces. Proper airflow helps in regulating the internal environment, minimising the build-up of heat or cold.
Increase natural ventilation by opening as many access points as possible or by using mechanical ventilation fans and ducting to force ventilate the space to provide cooling. Exhaust ventilation can also be used to extract hot air and draw in cooler air — or both systems can be used in conjunction for best results.
- Personal protective equipment
Consider what is required for the task and if there is a lightweight option. Thinner material can prevent the build up of body heat in a confined space.
Equipping workers with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to handle extreme temperatures, such as insulating clothing for cold environments or cooling vests for hot spaces, can mitigate the impact of temperature.
Be aware, for example, that a cooling vest will give a superficial cooling effect but will not actually cool the body core temperature on its own.
Implementing a monitoring system to continuously assess temperature variations, air quality, and other environmental factors within the confined space is crucial. This allows for prompt action in case of hazardous changes.
Consider the need to measure Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) if there is moisture in the atmosphere where work is taking place. Measuring ambient air temperature alone will not give a true reflection of the effects of heat and humidity when combined.
Where WBGT measurements are required, it is often necessary to consult a confined spaces health and safety professional to ensure that all possible safety measures are accounted for before any work commences.