SafeWork NSW urges employers to place workplace safety measures ahead of summer

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Image credit: SafeWork NSW

SafeWork NSW is calling workers and employers to start creating workplace heat management plans as predictions point to an upcoming scorching summer. 

In an announcement released today, SafeWork NSW urged employers to develop a plan in consultation with their health and safety representatives and workers to ensure the safety of everyone when the temperature rises. 

Heat-related illnesses happen when the body starts to overheat due to working too hard to cool itself down. 

Symptoms can include a range of progressive conditions, such as dehydration, fainting, heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. 

According to SafeWork, business owners who have workers completing tasks outside must place safety measures that will eliminate extended periods of sun exposure. 

This could be by providing shade, rotating tasks to reduce exposure, or providing personal protective equipment such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunscreen. 

“As the weather gets warmer it’s important businesses and workers start to talk about the procedures they will use to keep everyone safe from heat-related illnesses,” said SafeWork Head Trent Curtin. “We don’t want to see anyone needing medical attention due to heat exposure.” 

“Workers are reminded to listen to their body when the temperature rises and to drink plenty of water. It is vital you do not replace water with soft drinks, energy drinks or coffee as these can dehydrate you further.  

“If the weather becomes too hot and can’t be avoided then the job might have to be stopped. Worker safety must come first.” 

Tips on creating a heat management plan and managing extreme heat in the workplace can be accessed at safework.nsw.gov.au