Preparing For The Return of El Niño in 2023

Pryme - El Niño weather event across Australia and New Zealand- Pryme Australia Making The Workplace A Better Place

We are bracing for the return of another El Niño weather event across Australia and New Zealand in 2023, which could lead to extreme weather patterns and flash droughts. With La Niña likely near its end, we will see the return of El Niño which will cause an off-the-chart temperature rise, putting workers across Australia and New Zealand in the construction, building, infrastructure, and mining industries at greater risk of heat-related illness and injury.

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared an “El Nino Watch”, indicating that there is an increased likelihood of the natural climate phenomenon occurring in the coming months. El Nino is characterised by warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which can lead to a range of extreme weather events, including droughts, heatwaves, and bushfires. The last major El Nino event occurred in 2015-2016 and was associated with significant impacts on global weather patterns.

The Risks

According to a report by The Guardian, the return of El Niño could cause temperatures to rise by up to 2 degrees Celsius above the average, leading to heatwaves, bushfires, and droughts. Industries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and other heat-related illnesses. In a report by 9 News, experts warn that the risk of flash droughts could also lead to water shortages, putting further pressure on these industries.

Rainfall outlook for April to June, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. (Bureau of Meteorology)

The Conversation reports that the impact of El Niño on Australia’s weather patterns could also lead to more severe storms, and flooding further exacerbating the risks faced by workers.

The Solutions

In response to the potential risks posed by the return of El Niño, industry bodies, and regulators are urging employers to take measures to protect their workers. These measures may include providing shade, water, and rest breaks, as well as implementing heat stress management plans and training workers on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. However, with the right measures in place, these risks can be mitigated, and workers can be kept safe and healthy.

One such measure is the implementation of heat management plans, by providing cooling PPE and hydration stations on-site to help workers stay cool and hydrated. Pryme Australia offers a range of products to support these measures. Ergodyne’s Chill-its Cooling Range and the electrolyte-enriched Sqwincher range, which can help to keep workers safe and productive in hot conditions.

As we continue to face the challenges posed by climate change and extreme weather events, it is essential that we prioritise the health and safety of our workers. By implementing effective heat management plans and providing the right tools and resources, we can ensure that our workers stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay safe on the worksite.

For more information on Heat Stress On Site please visit Safe Work Australia.

Check out the entire range of Chill-Its Cooling and Sqwincher here on the Pryme website.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your workers cool, comfortable, and safe on the job, our Hydration Plan Toolbox Talks are the perfect solution! Contact us today to schedule a free session for your team and let us help you beat the heat.



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