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UpdatesOct 31, 2021

When you can’t take the heat

With summer approaching, it’s timely to consider the risks of heat and ways to manage them.

The significant risks associated with exposure to extreme heat was sadly made clear in a number of recent mining and exploration prosecutions where workers were injured or died as a result of exposure to sustained physical exertion and heat.

The risks of dehydration and fatigue not only affect those who work long periods in direct sun but also people working indoors or in confined spaces during heatwave periods.

When considering areas in which your workers might be exposed to these risks, it is important to consider a broad range of work environments. It may impact on workers operating machinery or vehicles with limited ventilation or no air-conditioning. Heat stroke and fatigue can also impact on workers travelling for significant periods of time or working for long durations in vehicles.

Safe Work Australia’s guide

Safe Work Australia has released updated guidance material on managing the risks of working in heat.

The Guide for managing the risks of working in heat now includes additions to the recommended first aid for heat stroke. The guidance for heat stroke is to immediately call an ambulance and then a number of first aid steps, including the addition of the following:

Click here to download the guide.

SafeWork NSW 4-step guide

If your workforce may be exposed to extreme heat, including bushfires, you should review the 4-step guide issued by SafeWork NSW to help workers stay safe from the effects of extreme heat, sun exposure, bushfires and smoke.

Click here for the guide.

Recommendations from safety regulators

Some of the areas where safety regulators recommend employers focus are the following:

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