Feeling hot hot hot! Minimise heat-related risks in your workplace

Heatstroke occurs when the body temperature rises above 40.5°c. It could be life-threatening and requires immediate ambulatory care.

Given recent extreme weather conditions, employers are faced with the challenge of ensuring the wellbeing of workers, and that productivity levels are maintained, despite the weather.

In such weather, heat related risks are increased for workers performing duties outdoors or within confined spaces with machinery constantly running. The following are practical suggestions for employers to minimise heat related risks in the workplace:

  • Provide workers with access to shelter, cool drinking water, and encourage workers to stay hydrated.
  • Schedule work to avoid the hottest part of the day or move work indoors or cooler areas, if possible.
  • Enable workers to take regular breaks and plan work routines so workers can rotate with others where possible.
  • Check whether the worker's personal protective equipment is appropriate for the type of work undertaken and the amount of sun they are being exposed to.
  • Provide suitable protection against UV radiation, including SPF 50 or higher broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen, hats, and light-weight breathable long sleeves.
  • Remind workers of the classic, "slip, slop, and slap!"
  • Utilise fans, misters, and air-conditioners.
  • Provide training on heatstroke symptoms and encourage workers to monitor themselves and the conditions of their co-workers.
  • Keep an eye on humidity and temperature levels, and ensure there is sufficient air movement within working areas.
  • Monitor health conditions of workers with known existing medical conditions.

Remember, employers are legally obliged to provide safe and healthy working environments to workers and anyone else on their premises.

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