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Climatic extremes & extreme weather - extreme cold/heat, high humidity, heavy rains, tropical storms

Hazard Description and Personal Vulnerabilities

Explain in your assessment specifically what climatic extremes you may be exposed to during the course of your study or work away. Include specifically when you will be most at risk for example, while travelling to other sites. Descriptions may include:

  • Risk of heatstroke, sunburn or sunstroke. The risk is likely to be higher in the day and there may be an increased risk to those who have previously suffered sickness due to sunstroke.
  • High temperature and high levels of humidity which may be worse during certain months.
  • Possibility of dehydration due to weather conditions. Risk level may vary depending on the situation of the site and accessibility of water. Also consider personal vulnerabilities, for example a medical condition that may lead to more severe consequences if you become dehydrated.
  • Working in an area that is susceptible to heavy rainfall and flooding- can lead to powerful currents if working near water where prior to heavy rain water levels were not a problem.
  • Monsoon season may increase level of risk; check time of year.
  • Extreme changes, for example sudden heavy rain showers. Rapid changes are important to consider as a site that was previously low risk can suddenly become dangerous.
  • Working in extreme cold - risk of hypothermia and frostbite if outside for long periods without adequate protection.
  • Additional considerations include whether or not the areas you are travelling to have the infrastructure to respond comprehensively to extreme weather events. If not, what will you do to prepare?
Control Measures (actions to reduce risk level)
  • You should indicate measures to avoid the risk of heatstroke, sunstroke or sunburn such as, regularly application of sun cream, wear appropriate clothing, and head gear.
  • If necessary you should ensure that outdoor activity is conducted at cooler times of the day, stop work and find a cool place to stay during this time. Specifically explain how you intend to do this.
  • Consider your personal vulnerabilities; if you have previously suffered sickness from sunstroke what has worked in the past to remedy it?
  • If there is a risk of dehydration due to conditions you will be working in then you should indicate measures to minimise this by describing for example where the nearest water supply will be or that you will be able to take sufficient water with you.
  • Prepare for all weathers in fast changing climates – list what suitable clothing you will take, where shelter can be sought, methods of communication that will be available, transport to evacuate.
  • During heavy rains or floods: Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks.
  • For tropical weather it may be safer to travel at certain times of year - you should research this and explain whether or not you will be travelling at a safer or more dangerous time of year.
  • List which weather bureaus you will check regularly.
  • Any necessary walking or hiking in extreme climates may need to be done with a guide – give details of services you intend to use.
  • Take advice from, for example, national park offices.
  • For extreme cold consider implementing measures such as, dressing very warmly in layers of clothing, with an outer layer that is wind-resistant, wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, a scarf, neck tube or face mask and insulated, waterproof footwear. Cover all exposed skin.
  • When working in extreme cold explain how you intend to stay dry or if this is not a possibility give details of regular breaks that you will take to ensure that you are keeping warm and dry for the majority of the day.
  • List any personal protective equipment you intend to use.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with torch, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Be ready to cut short or cancel outdoor activities – include contingency plans for if work cannot be carried out or allow sufficient time should breaks from work be necessary.
  • Demonstrate experience where relevant, for example, of dealing with extreme weather due to being in home country, in a similar environment to home country or having carried out work within a similar environment on numerous occasions.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the emergency procedures, including previous experience and the additional benefit if you are fluent in any local languages that may be useful in a disaster.
  • Include information about local contacts you can rely on in an extreme weather crisis.