WorkSafe Victoria: Protect workers from extreme heat

WorkSafeVIC

With temperature starting to climb, WorkSafe Victoria is urging all employers to protect Victorian workers from the risks of extreme heat.

While there are obvious safety risks for people working outdoors, people working indoors and in confined spaces are also at risk from indirect heat or fatigue during heatwave periods.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said employers should be vigilant in ensuring workers are able to cope up with the weather condition.

“We know that individuals may have different responses to extreme heat and require particular support,” said Ms Williams. “Fatigue can result in exceptionally dangerous situations, particularly when people are operating machinery or vehicles.

“It’s important to plan out the day and prioritise the workload,” said Ms Williams.

“Some tasks may need to be rescheduled or modified to reduce exposure to the heat. It could be a simple plan to start and finish the day earlier that prevents a workplace injury or something much worse.”

WorkSafe Victoria offers the following tips to manage work health and safety risks when working in extreme heat:

  • Ensure workers stay hydrated and wear suitable hats, clothing and other sun protection
  • Modify workloads if necessary so strenuous tasks are performed during cooler parts of the day or reduce time spent on those tasks
  • Provide additional rest breaks in a cool, shaded area
  • Provide cool drinking water near the work site and encourage workers to take more breaks
  • Use mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion
  • Provide workers with information, instruction and training to manage fatigue and illness associated with high temperatures

More information can be obtained by telephoning the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.

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