Fatalities have happened

Between 2001 – 2013 in Australia there were 13 work-related fatalities from exposure to environmental heat.

Between 2001 – 2013 in Australia, 13 workers died from working in extreme environmental heat. All of these people except one (who was working in an enclosed ceiling space) died from exposure to outdoor heat.

Themes that emerged in the relevant coronial inquiries included:

  • in cases of workers with colleagues nearby, there was a failure to recognise the signs of heat-related illness
  • in cases of workers working alone, they either failed to recognise or to act on their symptoms, or were unable to call for help
  • a lack of co-ordination between the parties responsible for workers’ safety
  • the need for systems to identify when a worker is suffering heat-related illness (and allow them to seek assistance if isolated)
  • the need to schedule work to avoid the hottest times of the day or season of the year
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