SafeWork NSW has issued a reminder to businesses to be aware of the risks of working in the heat with temperatures across the State set to soar this week.

SafeWork NSW Executive Director Peter Dunphy said businesses and workers, particularly those who work outdoors, need to be vigilant to the risks of working in a hot and sunny environment including exposure to UV radiation.

“It is important that businesses adopt a flexible and common sense approach to working in the heat by monitoring factors such as temperature, humidity, hydration and level of work activity,” Mr Dunphy said.

“Workers exposed to excessive heat are at the most risk of heat related illnesses such as dizziness, general weakness and collapse or in extreme cases, heat stroke,” he said.

“Heat stroke can kill and workers who show any related symptoms should seek immediate medical assistance.

“Working in the heat can also reduce a worker’s concentration and ability to assess hazards which may increase the risk of a workplace incident occurring.

“Where possible, businesses should try to re-schedule work to cooler times of the day such as early morning or late afternoon.

“Also ensure workers stay hydrated throughout the day and have access to plenty of plain drinking water as well as frequent rest breaks.”

When working outdoors or in hot conditions:

  • provide shelter where possible to protect workers from the sun
  • provide sun safety information, instruction, training and supervision
  • rotate tasks to lessen exposure to the sun as well as mental and physical fatigue
  • schedule work at cooler times of the day
  • use rest periods in addition to scheduled meal breaks
  • provide water and encourage workers to stay hydrated
  • provide personal protective equipment such as:
    • clothing with UPF 50+ rating, loose shirts with long sleeves, collars and long pants
    • broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30+)
    • sunglasses which meet Australian Standards for UV protection

Free guidance material on fatigue management and working safely in the sun is available from www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50 or visit www.cancercouncil.com.au for sun safety tips.

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