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Stay safe and hydrated on worksites as temperature heats up

With temperatures expected to remain in the thirties for the rest of the week, workers and employers are encouraged to think safety on worksites and workplaces across the ACT.

Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said it was important for employers to be thinking of ways to limit sustained heat exposure for workers and for workers to be mindful of their safety and that of their workmates.

“Staying safe this week and in summer months generally is particularly critical in trades or industry where workers are in the sun or in hot environments such as kitchens or laundries,” Mr Jones said.

“Not only can the heat be unpleasant, but sustained heat exposure can also be dangerous. To stay safe workers should keep hydrated during the day and wear appropriate sun safety and protective clothing.

“Employers should consider putting in place a range of measures to support workers in the heat such as using shaded areas for work, ensuring workers are taking regular breaks and staying hydrated, reorganising work for cooler times of the day if possible and rotating jobs so workers spend less time on heavy or strenuous tasks.

“They should also educate their workers about the dangers of working in the sun, safe work procedures, recognising heat stress and steps to take if a worker is suffering from heat stress.”

Tips for workers and employers:

  • reorganise work for cooler times of the day (before 10am and after 4pm)
  • avoid working near reflective surfaces such as water, cement, shiny metal or white painted sheds
  • rotate heavy work so each worker spends less time undertaking strenuous activity
  • wear sun protective clothing such as long-sleeved, closely-woven shirts, long trousers and a hat that protects the head, ears, nose and neck
  • wear eye protection sunglasses or safety glasses that filter out ultraviolet rays
  • use a SPF 15 or higher water-resistant sunscreen and reapply at least every two hours
  • take regular breaks in a cool shaded area and drink plenty of water.

Further information can be found on the Access Canberra website www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au

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