Tips for working in the heat
- Look at different options to get to and from work, or a different work location, if public transport could be affected by the weather.
- Reschedule work so the hot tasks are performed during the cooler part of the day.
- Provide extra rest breaks in a cool area.
- Reduce the time spent doing hot tasks (eg. job rotation).
- Monitor the temperature. While there's no maximum temperature set under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, for a worker to stop working - some workplaces may have their own policy around this. Check what your policy is.
- Regularly check if workers/colleagues are showing signs and symptoms of heat illness (see signs and symptoms below).
- Wear hats and light clothing that still provide sun protection.
- Have cool drinking water close to where you are working.
- Drink water, even if you aren't thirsty - every 15 minutes.
- If you're an employer, download the SunSmart Skin cancer and outdoor work guide for more information.
- Use air conditioning and fans to increase air movement.
- Use shade cloth when working outdoors.
- Put blinds or curtains down to block out sunlight.
- Use exhaust ventilation to remove heat or steam from hot equipment.
- Move hot equipment away from people.
Signs and symptoms of heat illness
Heat illness occurs when the body can't properly cool itself.
The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather with high humidity, sweating isn't enough.
If symptoms occur, workers need to rest in a cool, well ventilated area and drink cool fluids. If symptoms do not improve quickly, or skin is very hot and dry to touch, seek urgent medical help.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion
- Sweaty skin
- Fast and weak pulse rate
Symptoms of heat stroke
- Red, hot, dry skin
- Intense thirst
- Nausea or vomiting
- High temperature
- Dizziness or confusion
For more information, please visit Working in heat on our website or contact WorkSafe's Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.
Source: WorkSafe Victoria