Date: March 14, 2017
Author: Golf Australia

The heat is on

No-one likes seeing staff or golfers staggering off the course with the effects of heat.

With some of the hottest days on record in parts of Australia this summer it’s important for club managers, superintendents and golf shop staff to understand, and avoid the dangers of heat stroke and heat exhaustion for workers, members and the public.

It is ultimately the clubs’ and golf facilities’ responsibility to provide a safe workplace and avoid placing workers in danger on hot days.

Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures; usually in combination with dehydration which leads to failure of the body's temperature control system. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency.  

To reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke on golfers, clubs and facilities should have in place a heat policy.

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke

Heat Exhaustion is likely to occur when a person’s body temperature rises above 37 degrees but below 40 degrees Celsius.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion include: heavily sweating, pupils dilated, fatigue (extreme tiredness), faint/dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and possible collapse.

Heat Stroke is the most serious form of heat-related illnesses, with a body temperature higher than 40 degrees Celsius.

Signs of Heat Stroke include: dry skin (lack of sweating), rapid, shallow breathing, pupils concentrated, vertigo, confusion, headache, rampant thirst, nausea or vomiting and muscle cramps.

First Aid

If you suspect someone has a heat stroke, immediately call 000 or transport the person to a hospital. A  delay in seeking medical help has the potential to be fatal.

• While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, initiate first aid. Move the person to an air-conditioned environment, or at least a cool, shady area and remove any unnecessary clothing.

• If possible, take the person's core body temperature and initiate first aid to cool it to around 38 Celsius. (If no thermometers are available, don't hesitate to initiate first aid.)

• Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose.

• Apply ice packs to the patient's armpits, groin, neck, and back. Because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them may reduce body temperature.

• Immerse the patient in a shower or tub of cool water.

Avoiding Heat Injuries

• Wear lightweight, light-coloured clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat.

• Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more.

• Drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration.

• At least 1Lt of fluid (water, fruit juice, or vegetable juice) two hours before exposure

• 250ml of water or sports drink every 20 minutes, even if you don't feel thirsty

• Monitor the colour of your urine. Darker urine is a sign of dehydration, and always avoid fluids containing caffeine or alcohol.

Knowing your responsibilities and being proactive around workplace safety is essential. 

Golf Australia recommends Monit for your safety management systems.  If you’d like to manage your club’s WHS data online or find out about the world’s first workplace health & safety App designed specifically for golf clubs call Monit 1300 65 11 77