WorkSafe is urging employers in the north of the state to plan ahead to protect workers in this week’s prolonged extreme heat.
Published:15 January 2019
With temperatures expected to stay above 40 degrees for the next few days, WorkSafe's Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said employers needed to ensure tasks were managed safely.
"Working in hot conditions can easily result in workers becoming dehydrated and suffering heat stress. Serious cases of heat stress can result in serious brain injury and organ failure, so the risks should never be underestimated," Ms Nielsen said.
"It's important to plan out the day and prioritise the workload. Some work may need to be rescheduled or modified to reduce exposure to the heat. It could be a simple plan to start and finish the day earlier."
Ms Nielsen said employers also needed to consider the impact of heat on workers performing indoor tasks.
"The temperature in a roof space, or next to a metal wall can be significantly higher than an outdoor area, which mean workers can face an even greater risk of heat stress and fatigue," Ms Nielsen said.
"Fatigue can result in exceptionally dangerous situations, particularly when people are operating machinery or vehicles, or driving home after work."
Ways to help manage heat risks:
Reschedule work so the hot tasks are performed during the cooler part of the day.
Work from a different location.
Wear light clothing that still provides adequate protection.
Reduce the time spent doing hot tasks.
Arrange for more workers to do the job.
Provide extra rest breaks in a cool area.
Using mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion.
Ensure workers have access to cool water and stay hydrated.