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Cutting it in northern sun

Rockhampton Concrete Cutting’s Steve Van Lent and Jamie Gunton have to watch out for heat stress after hours of working in the sun.
Rockhampton Concrete Cutting’s Steve Van Lent and Jamie Gunton have to watch out for heat stress after hours of working in the sun. Allan Reinikka

WHEN Steve Van Lent was on a work site in New Zealand he would start his day wearing seven layers of clothing.

Then the Kiwi moved to the Beef Capital and took over Rockhampton Concrete Cutting.

He said it was more than a big change.

"The hottest we've worked in was 46 degrees in Middlemount," Steve said.

"But we were inside and we swear it was 51."

He and Jamie Gunton often have to resort to Camelbaks to stay hydrated.

It's been a scorching hot wake-up call for Jamie too, who was used to striding around work sites in boardies, a singlet, steel-capped boots and a nail bag when he was a builder.

Steve said he knew of three plumbers who collapsed from heat stress while working on a roof in Duaringa earlier this month.

"I always tell them on a hot day to stop and get in the shade," he said. "Don't keep going like you're in the middle of winter."

Doctor and author Joe Kosterich said heat stress was something that was serious, but often went under the radar.

"As a tradies job is physical, it is especially important that they wear cool and supportive clothing when on the job site," he said.

Steve and his crew have to follow workplace health and safety rules by wearing long-sleeved high-visual work shirts, long pants and steel-capped boots while using 17kg grinders to cut concrete.

He said one of the biggest helps was KingGee's Work Cool 2 shirts.

"They're the coolest I've worn," Steve said.

 

HEAT STRESS

  • Dr Joe Kosterich says heat stress is something that we don't hear about often but needs to be taken seriously, especially by tradesmen.
  • His tip is to wear clothing that will keep the body cool for adequate air circulation.

Topics:  health heat heat stress weather



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