Temperature when workers should stop work

The WHS legislation does not state a precise temperature at which workers should stop work.

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  but the WHS legislation does not state a precise temperature at which workers should stop work.

Exposure to heat depends on a number of factors – not just temperature alone.

In addition to the air temperature (how hot the air is around you), these factors are:

  • humidity – the moisture content of the air
  • amount of air movement (indoors) or wind speed (outdoors)
  • radiant temperature of surroundings either from the sun (outdoors) or furnaces, ovens and working under a metal roof (indoors)
  • clothing being worn including the personal clothing being worn under protective clothing
  • type of physical activity being done and the length of time it’s 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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