WORKING IN EXTREME HEAT – SAFEWORK WARNING

As temperatures are forecast to soar in South Australia over the coming days, SafeWork SA reminds workplaces to ensure they have measures in place to cope with the heat.

“Hot weather is a workplace hazard that needs to be considered when planning work
activities,” said Executive Director Bryan Russell.

“Heat stress can afflict workers at outdoor locations such as construction sites, storage
yards, tarmacs, roads and farms.

“It is also important to recognise that heat poses a risk in confined spaces. Temperatures
in industrial sheds can exceed 50 degrees, placing workers at risk.”

“Working in a hot environment can impair workers’ concentration and judgement, which
heightens the chances of other harmful incidents occurring,” Mr Russell said.

Heat stress symptoms include: headaches; fatigue; dizziness or fainting; increased
sweating; mood changes such as irritability or confusion, an upset stomach or vomiting.
“Working on through the symptoms of heat stress, can lead to serious illness and in
extreme cases, death,” Mr Russell warned.

SafeWork SA recommends the following measures to avoid heat-related risks in the
workplace:
• Schedule work so that more physically demanding tasks are done when it’s cooler.
• Rotate workers who have to work in direct sunlight – doing so can help reduce the
length of sun exposure for each person.
• Where possible, provide artificial shade such as umbrellas, shade cloth or a
sunshade.
• Keep well hydrated. South Australian workplace safety laws require that fresh
drinking water be provided at all workplaces.
• Adequate ventilation. Wherever possible, the work environment should be
ventilated by the use of fans or other means.
• UV protection – sunblock and wide-brimmed hats should be supplied as part of
personal protective equipment.
For advice on heat-related workplace health and safety issues, contact the SafeWork SA
Help Centre at 1300 365 255.