Keep Cool This Week

Public news

It is that time of the year when the weather tends to move into high temperatures and MTA members are faced with the usual questions of how to deal with that situation.

As in previous years, MTA members are reminded of the steps that need to be taken in managing ‘heat stress’ in workshops and in other difficult work environments.

Each workplace is different and will present its own difficulties. Similarly, not all workers are the same and will react differently to hot conditions. This article provides some common guidelines and measures that can assist members in dealing with work under these conditions and in meeting their obligations under the WHS Act.

It is important to recognise that heat stress can afflict employees in various work locations, including outdoors, in industrial sheds/workshops and in confined spaces. Physical activity in a hot environment can result in heat exhaustion and can impair a worker’s ability to concentrate and also to make proper judgements.

The following measures are recommended in attempting to minimise the risk of such stressful situations to workers:

  • Schedule work so that more physically demanding tasks are done during the cooler times of the day.
  • Discus the option of commencing work earlier and finishing earlier with your employees. Contact the Workplace Relations Department of the MTA in exploring that option by clicking here or by calling 82912000.
  • Provide fresh drinking water to ensure that workers are well hydrated.
  • Provide adequate ventilation and air flow through the use of industrial fans.
  • Provide adequate personal protection to workers including hats and sun block, where appropriate.
  • Schedule regular breaks in a cooler environment, if possible.
  • Ensure that workers affected by heat stress inform management as soon as possible so that any concerns are addressed.
  • Request staff to notify management if any co-workers appear to be affected by heat stress.
  • A worker suffering from heat stress may experience headaches, exhaustion, fatigue, shortness of breath, weak pulse, confusion, thirst, nausea, flushed skin and vomiting.
  • Ensure that contact details in relation to medical assistance, if required, is readily accessible.
  • Workers should follow all reasonable instructions from the employer and raise any WHS concerns with their employer.

Members should contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations Department by clicking here if they require further assistance on this issue or by calling 82912000.

Click here to contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team if you have any issues in your workplace or call them on 82912000.