Working in Heat

Working in extreme conditions can have adverse effects on the health and safety of workers.

Risk factors include:
•    Air temperature, air movement and humidity
•    Level of work activity
•    Type of clothing and footwear
•    Levels of fluid loss and replacement
•    Source of radiating head

Employers are obliged to provide you with a safe and healthy working environment which includes:
•    Consult with employees, Health and Safety Representatives and OHS committees
•    Provide adequate and appropriate information, training, induction and supervision
•    Identify, access and control hazards associated with heat
•    Provide an appropriate physical and organisational environment
•    Provide healthy and safe workplace and work systems including protection against heat stress

Your rights:
•    You have the right to nominate and elect a representative as a HSR who has powers to advocate for OHS issues on your behalf
•    Refuse to work if conditions are adversely affecting your health

Your HSR has the power to:
•    Seek control of the hazards at their source
•    Develop a prevention policy in consultation with workers and management
•    Include ‘working in heat’ policies in enterprise agreements
•    Contact and request for a formal audit to take place by an OHS inspector
•    Issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN), an official notice to the employers informing them that an OHS issue currently exists and needs to be urgently attended to
•    Order work to cease if he/she deems the work will adversely affect workers

Recommended rest breaks for working in seasonal heat

Duration of paid rest breaks within each hour when temperature reaches and/or exceeds temperature shown


10 minutes

30-32 degrees Celsius

20 minutes

32-34 degrees Celsius

30 minutes

34-36 degrees Celsius

Cease working

36-38 degrees Celsius

For further information on working in hot conditions, please refer to the ACTU Guidelines For Working in Seasonal Heat