WorkSafe warns against heat stress as above-average temperatures forecasted this summer


WorkSafe WA is warning workers and employers to guard against the effects of extreme temperatures following a forecast of above-average temperatures this summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued its summer outlook, forecasting daytime temperatures that are very likely to be above average across Australia.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said employers and workers should take extra care during the summer months to avoid the risk of heat stress or heat stroke.

“This warning goes out not only to outdoor workers, but also to employees that may be exposed to constant high temperatures that can result in heat stress or even heat stroke in indoor workplaces like foundries,” said Mr. Kavanagh.

“Workplace safety laws require employers to ensure that workers are not exposed to hazards and this includes, as far as practicable, protecting employees from extremes in temperature.

“The increased sweating caused by heat depletes the body’s fluids and can lead to the symptoms of heat stress – tiredness, irritability, inattention, and muscular cramps.

“These symptoms don’t just cause physical discomfort, they may also increase the risk of workplace injuries by taking a worker’s attention away from the task at hand, and this is a major concern.”

Drinking frequently, resting momentarily in cool spots, helping sweat evaporate by increasing air circulation, wearing loose clothes and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are some ways to help alleviate the heat.

It is also recommended to organise work schedules in such a way that tasks done outside are carried out late in the day or early in the morning.

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