Heat stress surveys within a range of Australian industries have identified fatigue, irritability, headaches, cramps and nausea as common outcomes of working in hot conditions 1,2. Workers indicated that such symptoms would not prompt them to seek medical treatment and are generally not reported, as symptoms developed towards the end of, or following the work shift and are self-treated. Both the type of symptoms and the latency between exposure and symptoms, parallel those of an alcoholic hangover. Hence, we use the term ‘heat hangover’ to describe these symptoms, with the term gaining acceptance within a wide variety of workforces.
Heat hangovers impact the post-work setting through negative impacts on sense of well-being, sleep, appetite and family relationships, while workers that frequently report heat hangover symptoms are more likely to limit not only work rate, but also their quality of work 2. Aside from the productivity issues, the impact of heat hangover symptoms on vigilance, decision making and execution of physical skills are areas of interest. Negative impact on these factors may explain the prevalence of workplace accidents in the hottest months of the year 3. This session will detail the impact of heat exposure on work and post-work settings, highlighting the role of heat hangovers and control strategies to mitigate impacts.