Who is more likely to suffer from heat-related illness?
Pre-existing conditions may increase the risk o heat related illness
People are at greater risk of the effects of heat-related illness if they:
- are overweight
- are physically unfit
- are pregnant
- have consumed drugs or alcohol
- are over 45 years old (research suggests workers over 45 years of age experience a lower ability to work in a hot environment, which can make them a particularly vulnerable group as heat intensifies)
- suffer from heart or lung disease
- take certain medications or are on a fluid-restricted diet
- aren’t used to working in the heat.
Research also indicates younger workers can be more susceptible to heat-related illness – the possible reasons being physically strenuous tasks combined with a lack of skills or experience and a reluctance to raise problems with supervisors.
Common occupations that could expose workers to heat-related illness include (but aren’t limited to):
Fire fighters and other emergency workers (eg: air ambulance; etc)
Farmers, agricultural workers
External house painters
Kitchen and laundry workers
Boiler room workers
Work in confined spaces, including ceiling and roof cavities
Some factory workers
The common factors in these high-risk industries are the combination of hard physical work and being exposed to hot (and/or humid) environments, either outdoors in the sun or in indoor confined hot spaces.