Heat Stress Safety

Safety First: Heat Stress

Heat Stress in QLD is a real issue especially at this time of year. Queensland workplaces are urged to take extra care this year when preparing for work in heat, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting above average daytime temperatures in the months ahead.

Planning Tool

Employers need to plan ahead now and protect workers from heat stress hazards. To help, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has a Heat stress (basic) calculator tool on its website to predict if heat-induced illness is likely to occur. The website also has advice on how to prevent heat stress.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s Managing the work environment and facilities Code of Practice 2013 provides guidance for managing the risks associated with outdoor work.

PPE needs

Workers must be provided with heat and sun protection, as well as having general sun safety tips explained to them. If they’re not clear, have trouble understanding, or are concerned they’re working in an unsafe, hot environment, workers should be encouraged to speak up.

Take action

If you or your workmates are struggling in excessive heat or high humidity, don’t stall – talk to your supervisor immediately. Employers must ensure workers wear protective gear, including a hat and sunscreen, take adequate breaks, seek shade and keep hydrated to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke, fainting and cramps.

Causes

Heat stress risk is not just related to temperature – there are a combination of factors which contribute to heat-related problems at work, including:

  • exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day
  • exposure to reflected heat from construction materials, polished aluminum and glass
  • carrying out strenuous tasks or work for sustained long periods
  • exposure to additional heat from machinery
  • inadequate cooling off, rest periods or insufficient water consumption
  • climatic conditions (low air movement, high humidity, high temperature)
  • inappropriate clothing
  • factors that may cause dehydration such as poor diet, vomiting, diarrhea or alcohol, and caffeine consumption.

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