Working in hot conditions – The dangers


Working in hot conditions

With the onset of summer comes the warmer weather, along with a high chance of heatwaves. With an unprecedented number of heat health alerts issued last summer by the Department of Health, you need to be prepared for hot weather over the next few months.

Hot weather can cause a number of health and safety risks to your workers, particularly if they are required to work outside.
Working in hot conditions can exacerbate a worker’s existing illness, and can also cause workers to:

• feel nauseous, dizzy, weak or fatigued;
• collapse, faint or suffer convulsions; or
• develop conditions such as:

heat exhaustion;
heat cramps;
heat rashes; or
heatstroke, which is life-threatening.


9 tips to reduce the risks of working in hot conditions

Take the following steps to reduce the risks associated with working in the heat:

• ensure your workers stay hydrated, e.g. provide bottled water and encourage workers to drink water regularly;
• provide sunscreen to workers and encourage them to regularly reapply;
• ensure workers wear appropriate clothing, e.g. hats and long-sleeved shirts;
• avoid workers having to work in direct exposure to the sun or another heat source;
• ensure that workers have access to shelter when the weather becomes too hot;
• increase air movement if possible;
• ensure that workers are not required to work during the hottest times of the day;
• increase the number of breaks, or allow your workers to opt for additional breaks when they feel overheated; and
• ask your workers to cease work when it becomes too hot.

Sourced from In today’s Health & Safety Bulletin: Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014, by Joanna Weekes