Heat stress, a year-round concern

As temperatures soared across Australia this summer, heat stress became a very real safety concern.

While summer is nearing its end this year, there is still a very real chance that we will experience some more high temperatures before the season is out.

Heat stress, however, needn’t be restricted to the summer months.

Heat can be part of the normal work environment, which needs to be managed all year round.

While no regulations state the maximum temperatures that are acceptable in the workplace, employers have a duty of care towards their employees.

It’s important that heat, whether  ambient or due to the working environment , is taken into account when assessing the risk of your workplace and the activities of the staff.

Heat can be a contributing factor to incidents as workers suffer from reduced concentration or slippery, sweaty palms and can have a profound impact on the worker’s health.

Some measures which may be introduced to reduce the risk of heat stress on your employees includes:

  • Work elsewhere – if possible, do some other work that doesn’t expose your workers to the heat until the temperature reduces.
  • Mechanical cooling – if possible, cool the area with air-conditioning or fans.
  • Ensure your workplace is supplied with plenty of fresh drinking water. Dehydration in heat is a major contributor to heat stroke.
  • Rest periods – although there are no laws which stipulate rest periods for temperature, it is a sensible control measure to insist on your workers taking specified rest periods each hour out of the sun or the heat according to the temperature refer to the risk assessment.
  • PPE – ensure you provide your employees with the relevant PPE for their roles e.g.  outside workers need  sunscreen, hats and long-sleeve shirts- don’t forget slip , slap slop

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security about the threat of heat being over once the summer has passed. Heat can adversely affect your workers any time of the year.

Any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact  Safety Services Australia on  029836 3100 or www.safetyservices.net.au