Managing the Risks of Working in Heat

Managing the Risks of Working in Heat

Practical guidance on how to manage the risks associated with working in heat.

This Guide from Safe Work Australia provides practical guidance for a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) on how to manage the risks associated with working in heat and information on what to do if a worker begins to suffer from a heat-related illness.

Safe Work Australia (SWA) says the guide is particularly useful for employers and workers in the transport, postal/warehousing, construction and public administration and safety industries, as well as labourers and protective service workers.

This Guide addresses heat that poses a direct risk to a worker’s health and safety, such as heat which may cause heat-related illness. For information on thermal comfort – that is, whether a worker is comfortable at a particular temperature – see the Code of Practice: Managing the Work Environment and Facilities.

Managing the risks of working in heat has information on different types of heat (sun, machinery, clothing, as well as hard, prolonged manual labour) and how to recognise and act if a worker has been heat affected.

There are also tips on how to minimise hazards associated with working in heat, and the legal duties of PCBUs, company officers, workers and even designers, manufacturers and importers are highlighted.

Managing the risks of working in heat also refers to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s Heat stress (basic) calculator, a very useful tool to help identify and manage risk of heat related illness. SWA also suggests the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is a useful source for up to date information, particularly if your employees work outdoors or somewhere where environmental conditions can affect temperature and humidity.

BOM forecasts the location and severity of heatwaves across the state and one of the indices is for apparent temperature, which is calculated using ambient temperature and relative humidity, to help estimate exactly how hot it really feels for workers. Go to Heatwave Service for Australia

Guide on Exposure to Solar Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR)

This Guide provides practical guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking and workers about managing health and safety risks associated with exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

This Guide contains information on the risks of solar UVR exposure, the control measures which can be used to help eliminate or minimise, so far as is reasonably practicable, a worker’s exposure to solar UVR in the workplace and guidance on how to implement a sun protection program at your workplace.

Safe Work Australia acknowledges the valuable contributions made by Cancer Council Australia and in particular, Cancer Council Western Australia in the development of this Guide.

Heat Stress (Basic) Calculator

This assessment tool can be used as a basic guide and/or training tool to help identify and manage risks of heat related illness. It is based on the “Basic Thermal Risk Assessment” developed for the AIOH.

Note: Guidance on the determination of safe/unsafe working limits and the use of impermeable clothing is not provided by this tool, and should be sought from an appropriately qualified person such as an occupational hygienist.

Checklist for Risk-managing Heat in the Workplace

This checklist provides a list of risks for you to consider when managing and controlling the risks caused by working in heat.

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