Heat - Working in extreme heat
Working in heat is a hazard that can result in severe health problems for many workers – whether they work indoors or outdoors.
If the body has to work too hard to keep cool, it starts to overheat and a worker begins to suffer from heat-related illness.
Recent climate data shows that:
- extreme heat events are occurring in Australia more often and for longer periods, which is expected to continue with greater intensity in the future, and
- there are also increasing extremes of temperature, meaning Australia is experiencing weather with more heat extremes and fewer cool extremes.
This means that workers are now exposed to hotter working environments for longer periods and these more frequent, longer heatwaves may introduce new hazards as well as affect the control options available.
Heat-related injuries can be quite common, and may result in fatalities– particularly in tasks that require attention, coordination and immediate memory skills.