9. Extreme heat and ultra-violet radiation (UVR) risks should be assessed

If exposure to extreme heat and/or UVR are identified as a risk, you should assess the level of risk.

In consultation with sub-contractors, workers and/or HSRs, conduct a risk assessment to determine:

  • the severity of the risks
  • whether any risks can be eliminated
  • whether any risks can be minimised
  • if existing control measures are effective
  • the actions to be taken to control remaining risk, and
  • how urgently you need to act.

Your risk assessment must consider the environmental factors, such as the air temperature, humidity, amount of air movement and radiant temperature of the surroundings as well as the personal factors of the workers, such as clothing worn, physical activity being done and their physical fitness. Also consider tasks involving working with hot materials (eg. laying bitumen surfacing) and jobs that have to be done quickly.

PCBUs must consider all these factors and eliminate the risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.

In some circumstances, during the consultation process with your workers and/or their HSRs, agreement may be reached on specific parameters for extreme heat conditions when work will be stopped to eliminate the risk. All agreed parameters should be included into your workplace heat management plan.

If eliminating the risks is not reasonably practicable, the hierarchy of controls must be used from top to bottom to minimise the risks, so far as is reasonably practicable. PCBUs should also develop suitable systems in consultation with workers and/or HSRs to undertake:

  • regular workplace environmental heat risk indicator monitoring (such as air temperature, humidity and wind speed) and UVR monitoring, and
  • formal workplace heat stress assessments when necessary (of both environmental and personal factors by a suitably qualified occupational hygienist)

These details should also be included into your workplace heat management plan.

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