26 September 2023

Employers called to go cold on hot weather

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WorkSafe Victoria is urging employers to plan ahead and protect workers against heat illnesses as the State is sweating through scorching hot temperatures.

With daytime highs around 40 degrees expected in northern parts of Victoria, Executive Director of Health and Safety at WorkSafe, Narelle Beer said employers needed to ensure tasks were carried out safely.

Dr Beer said it was crucial for employers to take all possible measures to prevent or minimise the risk of heat illness.

“Working in hot conditions can easily lead to dehydration and heat illnesses such as heat rash, fainting, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition,” Dr Beer said.

“This could be as simple as starting work earlier, or rescheduling strenuous work for a cooler day,” she said.

“It also includes providing workers with cold water and regular breaks in a cool area.”

Dr Beer said not only must employers think about the impact of hot weather on outdoor workers, but also on those working inside.

“Sometimes temperatures in spaces with no air conditioning or poor ventilation, such as a roof space or shed, exceed the temperature outside,” the Executive Director said.

“These spaces often retain the heat for a long period of time, which means the workers face a greater risk of heat illness and fatigue,” she said.

“Hot working conditions can also lead to other health and safety issues such as trips and falls due to fatigue, cutting corners due to heat discomfort, and loss of grip when handling tools with sweaty hands.”

Dr Beer said symptoms of heat-related illness included nausea or vomiting, dizziness, feeling weak, pale skin, heavy sweating, headaches, convulsions, and clumsiness.

Further information on staying safe in the heat can be accessed at this PS News link.

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