SafeWork SA reminds employers to protect workers from heat stress

SafeWork SA reminded employers with outdoor workers to ensure that risks associated with heat stress and solar UV radiation are managed.

In 2016, a Skin Health Australia Report found that 65 percent of workers are not given clothing to protect them from sun exposure.

“Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012, employers are responsible for appropriately managing workplace risks, including working with the risk of heat stress and solar UV radiation exposure,” SafeWork says.

The work safety agency suggests modifying workloads and schedules, rotating or sharing ‘hot tasks’, increasing rest and hydration breaks and making sure rest areas in shady or cool areas are available.

Employers are also reminded to provide protective gear to minimise solar UV radiation exposure.

“Working in hot conditions is a seasonal hazard of living in South Australia, and it is important that workers and employers alike are alert to the possibilities of heat stress or UV exposure and take preventative measures,” said Glenn Farrell, Director, Workplace Education & Business Services.

“If a worker is experiencing heat stress symptoms such as feeling dizzy, weak, clumsy or disorientated, they should rest in a cool area, loosen clothing and drink cool fluids – water ideally. Soft drinks or energy drinks are not recommended.

“It is important that employers and other workers look out for each other, and act immediately if someone appears to be affected. There are easy ways to prevent heat stress, and I encourage all of those working outside on our hot days to take care of themselves by staying hydrated, wearing protective clothing and taking rest breaks in the shade.”

Tips on preventing heat-related illness and injury is available on the SafeWork SA website.

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