Issue 12 of 2016 – 30 November by Master Builders NSW
IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN!
WORKING IN HOT WEATHER CONDITIONS
Members are reminded that employers should take a sensible risk based assessment approach to employees working in hot weather conditions.
Temperatures are expected to rise in the coming weeks and over the summer period, prompting the need for businesses and workers to work safely in the heat.
We remind members that Fatigue and heat stress are major causes of injury in hot conditions that can reduce a workers performance and productivity and increase the chance of injury by reducing the ability to concentrate, recognise risks and communicate effectively.
Workers and businesses need to cooperate with each other to protect themselves from the effect of working in heat. This can be achieved through rescheduling work to cooler periods of the day such as early morning or late afternoon. If this approach is not possible ensure workers have access to plain drinking water, at least 200mL every 15-20 minutes, shaded rest areas and frequent rest breaks.
Supervision is also an important consideration as people can deteriorate quickly if heat affected. Realistic workloads and work schedules should be set to ensure fair distribution of work.
It is important that workers don’t rely on energy or caffeinated drinks which can have a diuretic affect.
Workers can be exposed to UV radiation when working in the shade as well as the sun, so it is important to wear sun protection in all outdoor conditions. Workers should be provided clothing with a UPF 50+ rating such as loose shirts with long sleeves, collars and long pants. Broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+, broad brimmed hats and sunglasses which meet Australian Standards for UV protection can also be worn.
Some businesses have unfortunately signed CFMEU Enterprise Agreements which stipulate arbitrary temperatures to stop work. Whilst industrial parties have a legal obligation to abide by the provisions of their agreement, this approach is at odds with a proper risk management approach to health and safety.
Consequently, any member who has not signed a CFMEU Enterprise Agreement containing their “Heat Policy” are advised that such an arbitrary approach is totally contrary to SafeWork NSW’s Codes of Practice which stipulates a risk based assessment approach as explained in this circular.
Should members have any further enquiries please do not hesitate to contact the Association’s Safety Department on 02 8586 3555.
SOURCE: Master Builders NSW