Working safely through summer heat

With predictions for a scorching summer on the horizon, SafeWork NSW is urging workers and businesses to start planning for how they will stay safe.

Employers have the primary duty of care for employees and are encouraged to develop a workplace heat management plan in consultation with their health and safety representatives (HSR) and workers to ensure everyone stays safe when the temperature rises.

Heat-related illnesses happen when the body starts to overheat due to working too hard to cool itself down. Symptoms can include a range of progressive conditions, such as dehydration, fainting, heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Employers who have workers completing tasks outside must do their best to eliminate extended periods of sun exposure. This could be by providing shade, rotating tasks to reduce exposure, scheduling work to cooler times of the day and providing personal protective equipment such as hats, long sleeve shirts and sunscreen.