Protecting your workers from extreme heat
Protect your workers from extreme cold, heat and UV radiation.
Working in direct sun or extreme heat is a known hazard for workers.
Workers are at greater risk of the effects of heat-related illness if they:
- are overweight
- are physically unfit
- are pregnant
- have consumed drugs or alcohol
- are over 45 years old (research suggests workers over 45 years of age experience a lower ability to work in a hot environment, which can make them vulnerable as heat intensifies)
- suffer from heart or lung disease
- take certain medications or are on a fluid-restricted diet
- aren’t used to working in the heat.
Research also indicates younger workers can be more susceptible to heat-related illness – possible reasons include, lack of skills or experience when undertaking physically strenuous tasks combined with a reluctance to raise problems with supervisors.
Eliminate or reduce the risk
Employers and businesses (and other PCBUs) should always try to eliminate, so far as is reasonably practicable, any health and safety risks in the workplace. Reasonably practicable means doing that is reasonably able to be done to ensure the health and safety of workers.
Safe systems of work must ensure that all workers:
- can identify the signs of heat-related illness
- know how to observe and monitor their co-workers
- know what to do if a co-worker seems affected
- know what immediate first aid to give to an affected worker, and when to call for further medical assistance.