Workers Warned of Extreme Heat Dangers


A warning has been issued to workers about the dangers of working in high heat environments.

Although the reminder was issued by The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, it is a warning that people in construction trades should also heed.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Director Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn  supervisors and workers need to understand the risks and symptoms of heat stress and report any signs to a supervisor.

Workers and employers must remember the seriousness of the issue, heat stroke can cause permanent brain damage as well as damage to other vital organs and possibly death.

People suffering from heat-related illnesses must get urgent medical treatment.

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SafeWork SA Reminds Employers to Protect Workers from Summer Heat Hazards


Summer is not over yet and SafeWork SA’s reminder to employers is to protect workers from summer heat hazards.

Employers with outdoor workers in particular, must take the necessary measures to manage the risks associated with heat stress and solar UV radiation.

SafeWork SA gave employers some suggestions to minimise the risks such as,

  • Adjusting workloads and schedules to avoid the times of day with most extreme temperatures such as midday.
  • Rotating work so that the hottest tasks are shared and rest breaks are increased.
  • Ensuring break areas are in shaded, cool areas and water is readily available to workers.

Employers also need to ensure workers are provided with the appropriate protective gear to minimise exposure to solar UV radiation.

Workers must apply sunscreen, wear protective clothing – loose clothing that covers the arms and legs, work in the shade and wear a hat.  Source:

Employers and Workers Urged to Re-examine Safety


If you live in the ACT you’re already aware that temperatures are soaring, that is why Work Safety Commissioner, Greg Jones is reminding us to rethink safety on worksites especially where trade industries are concerned.

It’s important that employers are finding ways to limit the amount of time workers spend in the direct sunlight and exposed to heat, for example in confined spaces.

Workers can also look after the safety of their colleagues, to ensure no one suffers from heat stress and other heat related illnesses.

Exposure to the heat is dangerous and workers need to remain hydrated to stay safe.

It’s also important to war the appropriate sun safety and protective clothing.

Mr Jones also encouraged employers to support workers by providing shaded areas for work, ensuring they get enough breaks and remain hydrated. They should also reschedule work for cooler times of the day where possible.

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Tips To Beat The Heat

Summer is in full swing and the temperatures are hotter than ever. If you’re going back to work this week on the building site, you’ll want to ensure you’re keeping safe in the heat to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat stress and heat stroke.

Here are the most important things to remember:

  1. Keep well hydrated. When working in a hot environment, you can lose a litre of fluids every hour.
  2. Take frequent breaks in the shade and work alternating shifts to avoid any single person being in the sun the entire day. This will help you avoid heat stroke, of which 80 per cent of cases are fatal.
  3. Always wear a high SPF sunscreen and wear light coloured, thin, loose clothing.
  4. Keep track of the weather by listening to weather alerts on the radio and television, then prepare accordingly.
Remember that heat is responsible for more deaths in Australia than any natural disaster, so working safely is important.


Safety Warning Issued about Heat Stress

man in the sun

WorkSafe WA has alerted businesses to the fact that Summer and the hot days accompanying it have not yet come to an end, so workers need to be protected from heat stress or worse, heat stroke which can be fatal.

High temperatures can be expected which could place both outdoor and indoor workers at risk, and employers need to be prepared.

Practicing good workplace health and safety can help keep workers safe. Employers and workers should work together. Employers should provide the necessary training, supervision and controls to avoid heat stress and employees need to ensure they abide by good WH&S practices, as their training and instruction from employers mandates.

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Adjusting to Work in Extreme Heat

Source: Fabio Coatti

Construction workers engage in extremely strenuous work, most often outdoors which can be a problem especially during the hot summer months.

As an outdoor worker you are at risk of developing skin cancer, and Oz in particular has recorded the highest numbers of skin cancer suffers in the world. It is there extremely important to safe guard yourself if you are working outdoors in the sun.

You also need to protect yourself against other side effects such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cramps etc.

High temperatures, high humidity, slow air movement and direct sunlight all combine to make the risk of working in the heat even greater.

  • Remember these tips when engaging in work outdoors or in extremely hot environments :
    Drink at least half a litre of water each hour, to replace the water lost during sweating
  • Wear the appropriate PPE like loose fit long sleeved shirts and sunhats.
  • Employers keep the work area well ventilated to provide a good flow of cool air, especially where work processes generate heat such as machinery.
  • When working outdoors, skin cancer is a major hazard so make sure to wear the appropriate PPE and take the necessary precautions such as wearing a hat and applying sunscreen.
  • Take frequent rest breaks and relax in a shaded rest area
  • Employers should provide free access to cool drinking water
  • Employers should also encourage the removal of personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss.
  • Educate workers about recognizing the early symptoms of heat stress
  • For outdoor workers reschedule work to cooler times of the day

Overcoming Heat Stress on Site

(Photo: digitalart /


Construction workers are often exposed to heat stress due to the amount of time spent outdoors. Workers on a construction site are most often involved in activities that generate heat such as welding and heavy machinery. These in conjunction with the heat of the sun can form a deadly combination that results in workers suffering from heat strokes, heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat rashes.

Workers who operate heavy tools or machinery may suffer from sweaty palms which can increase their risk of slipping and causing injury. Foggy safety glasses may impair vision and cause dizziness in workers.

Some construction workers are at a greater risk than others due to their age, weight or other factors such as heart conditions, high blood pressure or medication that may make them prone to heat related illness.

Employers have a duty to provide education about the dangers of working in the sun and heat and how these dangers can be minimised. Even workers who work on a confined construction site with little or no airconditioning and ventilation are at risk of heat related hazards. These workers should be educated on how to protect themselves from heat exhaustion and other consequences.

Possible Effects of Heat:

Heat Stroke is undoubtedly the most common and dangerous heat related side effect that is as a result of the body’s temperature rising too quickly. The body is unable to cool itself and the ability to sweat fails resulting in a heat stroke. This is dangerous because it can result in death or irreparable damage to the body.

Workers should look out for the following symptoms in themselves or co-workers:  Either dry skin from inability to sweat or profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion/dizziness and slurred speech.

If you notice a co-worker with these symptoms move them immediately to a cool, shaded area. If possible soak their clothes in cool water and attempt to bring down their body temperature. Shower them or spray them with cool water or fan them while you wait for medical attention to arrive.

Heat Exhaustion is another possibility. It is caused when the body responds to the excessive loss of water and salt through perspiring. It is most common in workers who have a history of high blood pressure but anyone in an extremely hot environment can suffer from heat exhaustion, especially workers who are undertaking strenuous physical labour like construction workers do.

Those construction workers suffering from heat exhaustion may display signs such as heavy sweating, extreme weakness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, moist skin, flushed complexion, muscle cramps, elevated body temperature and fast shallow breathing.

The same treatment can be administered as with sufferers of heat stroke, move them to a cool, shady area, shower them with cool water and make them drink cool water.

Heat Syncope is another dangerous effect of working the heat of the sun.  It is characterised by fainting or dizziness. It normally happens when workers stand for too long in the sun or arise suddenly from a sitting or lying down position. The body become dehydrated and is not able to acclimatize resulting in fainting.

If you feel light headed or dizzy after a prolonged period in the sun, you may be about to faint. Sit down or lie in a cool place and drink water to hydrate yourself.

Heat cramps are a less serious consequence of heat exposure and normally affects workers who are involved in strenuous activity such as those involved in construction work, causing the worker to sweat profusely. This sweating diminishes the salts and water in the body and causes the muscles to cramp. It can occur in the abdomen, arms or legs and construction workers are particularly prone to this type of hazard. So if you feel these symptoms coming on, take a break in a cool, shaded area. Drink water, juice or a sports beverage to rehydrate you.

Employers can take precautions to prevent workers from falling victim to these conditions. Ensure workers have a cool, shaded place to take breaks and provide water for them to drink. Also ensure workers are equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment for working in the hot Sumer months.

Employers can attempt acclimatize workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments. Start with a short time in the heat and increase slightly.

Employers should also reduce the physical demands of workers in Sumer and when the sun os at its peak at midday. Relief workers can casual workers can be brought in hotter months to share the work load and alleviate some of the demand on workers.

Monitor workers health, especially those who are at risk of heat stress. Also as part of the site training, educate workers about the dangers of heat stress and the precautions they need to take to overcome them.