Thursday 17 January 2013

WorkSafe issues hot weather warning

With temperatures expected to hit 39 in Melbourne and the 40s in many regional areas today, WorkSafe is warning people to be aware of the dangers of heat exposure.

WorkSafe Health and Safety general manager for operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, urged business operators and supervisors to ensure planning was in place for workers exposed to high temperatures.

“Workplace health and safety laws require the working environment to be safe and without risks to health and safety, including illness from working in heat,” she said.

“There are clear safety issues with people working outdoors, but many people who work indoors or in confined spaces are also at risk from indirect heat or fatigue.” 

Ms Sturzenegger said everyone had to play their part to ensure no one was put at risk.

“If there is a risk of a heat-related illness it must be controlled,” she said.

“The nature of the work and the features of the workplace have to be considered when determining how to manage workers in extreme heat.

“Access to water is essential and rest breaks may have to be increased.

“Some workers will need shelter and protective clothing to keep the sun off them, while regular communication is needed with people working on their own, particularly if they work in direct sun.

“Employers, supervisors and workers have to determine how their particular issues are to be minimised and they need to ensure people don’t put themselves at risk. 

“Depending on the circumstances, some work may have to be rescheduled, or it may have to be modified.”

Information on working in the heat can be found by visiting: or by clicking here. 

Ways to preventing heat illness:

• Reschedule work so the hot tasks are performed during the cooler part of the day

• Wear light clothing that still provides adequate protection

• Reduce the time spent doing hot tasks (eg job rotation)

• Arrange for more workers to do the job

• Provide extra rest breaks in a cool area

• Use mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion

• Provide cool drinking water near the work site

• Provide workers with information, instruction and training on recognising heat-related illness and on first aid. Adequate supervision of workers is also required

• Provide first aid facilities and access to medical help






Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Rosanna Bonaccurso: 0478 305 640, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.