Is there a maximum temperature at which workers should stop?

The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulation 2011 requires your employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that:

  • workers working in extremes of heat or cold are able to carry out their work without risk to their health and safety

The WHS legislation does not state a precise temperature at which workers should stop work. This is because the effects of exposure to heat depend on a number of factors – not just the temperature. These other factors include:

  • air temperature (how hot the air around us is)
  • humidity (the moisture content of the air)
  • amount of air movement or wind speed
  • radiant temperature of surroundings either from the sun or other sources including furnaces, ovens and working under a metal roof
  • clothing being worn including protective clothing such as overalls, coveralls and suits worn during insecticide spraying
  • type of the physical activity being done and the length of time it is done for
  • physical fitness of the worker, including whether a worker is used to working in a hot environment or has any pre-existing conditions - eg overweight, heart/circulatory diseases, skin diseases or use of certain medicines.
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