Brett Lavaring of Bundaberg Cold Stores.
Brett Lavaring of Bundaberg Cold Stores. ROB BARICH

Extreme weather for workers

TWO workers at very different businesses showed the hot and the cold of working in different environments in the city.

As the temperature hovered around 30 degrees, Spic ‘n’ Span dry cleaners manager Pat Straub was working in temperatures at least 10 degrees higher.

Mrs Straub said she turned on the boiler at the back of the shop soon after 7am every morning to provide steam for the machines.

As the pipes carrying steam to the machines heated up the temperature in the workplace soared.

“We turn off the machines about 12.30pm and it usually takes a few hours for the machines to cool down,” she said.

“It gets up to 41 degrees on a hot day. We’ve got a water cooler so the girls can have a cold drink whenever they want.”

But the workers have even more drastic means of coping with the heat.

“On really hot days we get wet towels and hang them around our necks,” Mrs Straub said.

But she said she had learned to take the hot working days in her stride.

“I’ve been working in the dry cleaning business for 34 years so I know what to expect with the heat,” she said.

Across town at Bundaberg Cold Stores, manager Brett Lavaring has a very different experience.

Mr Lavaring has to don a thick jacket to withstand the conditions in the huge cold rooms in which he spends most of his working day.

“I’m in and out of there, I spend about six hours a day in the cold rooms,” he said. “You get used to it after 11 years. You just have to dress for the conditions.”

The three cold rooms at the site are kept at a constant minus 26 degrees, but that comes with a price.

“We spend about $6000 a month on our power bills,” Mr Lavaring said.

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