Todays Top Story – Warnings of Health Related Risks at Work This Summer

We are almost right in the middle of summer here in Australia. As this season is welcomed by some with open arms, it comes as no surprise that we are now being warned of some of the dangers associated with this time of year, in particular heat dangers in the workplace.  

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has just issued a warning to guard against heat stress at work. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh sent a timely reminder to employers in recent days to take extra care during these coming days and months to avoid exposure to serious risks. “The increased sweating caused by heat depletes the body’s fluids and can lead to the symptoms of heat stress – tiredness, irritability, inattention and muscular cramps. These symptoms don’t just cause physical discomfort, they may also increase the risk of workplace injuries by taking a worker’s attention away from the task at hand, and this is a major concern.” Some of the simple steps that can be taken to avoid or mitigate such risks include; drinking cool clean water regularly, pause work to rest in a cool environment and reorganising work-related tasks to take place during the cooler periods of the day such as early morning and late afternoon.  

When it comes to recreational activities, we have been reminded for decades now to slip, slop, slap and wear a hat. As more importance is placed on workplace safety, messages such as these from Mr Kavanagh should also become part of the common dialogue during the summer months. “Guarding against heat stress and heat stroke is part of providing a safe and healthy workplace, and I urge employers to ensure that preventative measures are in place.”

Tonight’s Top Story – Is Modern Communication Leading to Social Isolation?

Close-up Hands Using Mobile Phone Stok Videosu (%100 Telifsiz) 6580247 | Shutterstock

Modern Communication; Or at least that what it is called.

Having been born in 1957 I can remember when the forms of conversations we had were face to face and telephone chats.  Other means of communication were radio, newspapers and the telex that was mainly used in business.  Wonder of all wonders in Australia in the 70s a fax machine became viable to use to transmit documents from one side of the world to the other.  Behold the 80s when the first mobile phone reached Australia’s shores.  Since then there has been an avalanche of technology unleashed on us and none more productive and destructive as the internet.  At this point you can probably see where I am going with this.

Let’s start with what I think are the positives of our modern-day communications.  The mobile phone has evolved to be a supercomputer in our hands.  Not only can you make phone calls on it, but you can surf the net, order your shopping and find out information in a heartbeat.

The use of home computers has provided the same benefits, with easy access to information that 40 years ago required a family to have a set of encyclopedias that took up a lot of room on any bookshelf and was invariably out of date the day you bought it.  Computers are no longer restricted to being big boxes that get in the way in the office.  They can be laptops or tablets that provide the same features but provide more mobility as the car becomes an office.

Emails are fantastic for doing business and a great way to keep a record of who said what if a dispute arises.  They may have replaced letters but at least some writing skills are still required.

Social media can be useful in much the same way as emails and they are good at getting information out to the masses.  That ticks off what is good in my view and I am sure others can add to the list.

Now I will look at what I perceive to be the bad of modern-day communication.  Have you ever been on public transport, in a waiting room or just anywhere public where a person has to talk at the top of their voice into the mobile phone and the conversation is so banal that you want to scream at them?  I have but have refrained from screaming at them.  What is the point of having a phone if you are going to yell into it?  What is it that makes people think I want to hear their part of the conversation?  Please, if you are one of these people, stop it!

Spam emails are now a fact of life no matter how annoying we think they are.  That Nigerian prince just won’t leave me alone even though I have no interest in him (or her) knowing my bank details so that they can fleece me.  And why do I have to use a service that insists on knowing my email details as part of the service, only to bombard me with offers I don’t want to know about and then ignore my requests to unsubscribe?

My favourite annoying feature is social media that I like to think of as anti-social.  People brag about having so many friends on social media but probably could not name one personal feature about the bulk of those “friends”.  What is the point?  And why do people jump on social media when they have had one too many and type something stupid that inevitably upsets one of their real friends?  It doesn’t make sense to me.

And social media is the major communication tool that actually stops us from communicating in an intimate way with the people we should be doing so with.  You can probably pick up at this point that I don’t use social media: so why should I care what other people do on social media?  I care because face to face communication is declining.  Next time you want to communicate with a friend, why don’t you pick up the phone, or better still if they are in the same community, buy them a coffee and have a chat.

Don’t get me wrong, the communication tools we have today are first class and when used properly can enrich our lives.  Used in the wrong way and we diminish the essence of our social beings.

Written by Gary Brown