Summer WHS risks

Top things that might kill you this summer

Did you know that the holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year?

Summer holidays are only a few weeks away! This time of year is a great opportunity to spend time with your loved one and enjoy time-off to relax and reset before the new year. Though, this time of year does present hidden risks.

Statistically speaking, the summer period has a peak in personal injuries. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), types of injuries include:

    • Transport-related injuries (3,100 in late January 2021, compared to 2,500 in early June 2021);

    • Weather-related injuries (125 hospital admissions in late November 2020, compared to 6 in early July 2020); and

    • Drownings and submersion injuries (65 hospitalisations in late January 2021, compared to 9 in early June 2021),

Further, summer sees an increase in injuries caused by insect bites and stings from animals, insects, and plants. There is also an increase in heat-related injuries from bushfires and heat waves causing burns, smoke inhalation, dehydration, and for people with chronic illnesses, the heat can exacerbate their condition.

Some other hazards to be aware of at this time of year include:

    • Injuries in children due to new toys;

    • Alcohol-related injuries due to overconsumption; and

    • Food poisoning from food being exposed to the warmer weather.

A sobering fact is that for the Australian summer period (1 December 2022 to the end of February 2023), 90 people lost their lives by way of drowning.

The Royal Lifesaving Summer Drowning Report states that of those 90 persons, 77% are male. This dramatic imbalance is a constant when reviewing drowning figures historically. It appears that males are at an increased risk for drownings in Australia.

The following is a breakdown of the 90 people into age groups:

    • 10 persons aged 0 – 17 years;

    • 18 persons aged 18 – 34 years;

    • 34 persons aged 35 – 64 years;

    • 16 persons aged 65+; and

    • 7 persons were unknown.

25% of drownings occurred between Christmas Day and 2nd January.

Unfortunately, a large proportion of these deaths attributed to drowning are understood to have been preventable. The following are some tips to aid in staying safe around water:

    • Never swim alone – regardless of your abilities;

    • Supervise children;

    • Don’t play breath holding games;

    • Always wear a life vest;

    • Check conditions;

    • Enter the water feet first;

    • Stay away from pool drains;

    • Stay within designated swimming areas;

    • Avoid alcohol and swimming; and

    • Learn CPR and first aid.

If you need safety support in the new year to manage summer WHS risks, Big Yellow Safety has the Gold Coast WHS Consultant to assist. Contact us on 07 5655 4048. Servicing the Gold Coast, Northern Rivers and Regional areas. 

Stay safe this holiday season!

From the Big Yellow Safety team.