Contractors should consider the benefits of developing a policy or procedure which is appropriate for their particular circumstances in anticipation of work being undertaken during hot weather. Such policies or procedures may be incorporated into negotiations for an EBA or workplace arrangement. Consultation with any Health and Safety Committee, where applicable, should also be considered.
Site managers should inform themselves of the daily and projected weather forecasts. Work should be programmed to allow for hot conditions. For example, if possible:
- Schedule work directly exposed to sun earlier in the day (eg. roofing, trenching etc)
- Carry out under-cover work during the hotter parts of the day
When hot weather is forecast, the site manager should follow a contingency plan that allows workers to relocate to areas less affected by heat. Contractors are recommended to:
- Become acquainted with the symptoms and effects of heat stress
- Monitor local temperature conditions
- Take steps to carefully manage work loads during extremes of heat
- Implement measures to prevent heat stress (eg. provide plenty of cool drinking water on site)
- Ensure workers are adequately protected from working in the sun (eg. the wearing of hats, sun screen, sunglasses and gloves where applicable)
- Have a trained First Aider at the workplace to monitor and deal with symptoms of heat stress
WorkSafe WA Guidelines
WorkSafe WA has produced guidelines to assist employers in dealing with working safely in hot weather in the building and construction industry. Contact WorkSafe WA on 1300 307 877 or go to www.worksafe.wa.gov.au if you would like a copy.
Utilising an arbitrary temperature to determine whether workers stay at work or go home is not considered "best practice" for the industry. However, contractors, who wish to know the temperature and maximum for the day can phone the Perth Weather Bureau Temperature Service on 1900 926 119. Call charges apply.