13 December 2023
Summer is here and the heat has already shown itself across the nation. The hotter months bring with them work health and safety risks that you need to manage, such as bushfires, extreme heat and solar UV radiation (UVR).
With bushfire season well underway, it is important to ensure your organisation has reviewed its approach to the management of the risks faced by workers in bushfire-prone zones.
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure that the workplace has prepared and trained its employees on what to do in the event of a bushfire emergency.
Your preparations must include ensuring that any worker who is working remotely or in an isolated place can access help in a bushfire emergency. For these individuals, it is critical that they have a means of communication like a mobile or satellite phone.
It is also important to ensure that work processes do not increase the risk of starting or intensifying bushfires. Some steps to take include:
With predictions for an extreme summer, PCBUs need to address the risks of dehydration and fatigue – not only for those who work long periods in direct sun – but also people working indoors or in confined spaces during heatwave periods. A broad range of work environments might also be impacted by heat, including workers operating machinery or vehicles with limited ventilation or no air-conditioning. Long haul travel or working for long durations in vehicles can also lead to the risk of fatigue and heat stroke.
Some of the areas where safety regulators recommend employers focus are the following:
The risk of UV presents its own challenges as it may still pose a significant risk even on cooler days. It is important for your organisation to make sure it:
If you have any questions on how you can manage your work health & safety obligations this summer, please get in touch with a member of our team below.
The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.