18 December 2015 Industry Update

Working in the heat

There is a common misconception that when temperatures reach a certain level, all work in the construction industry shuts down. This is not the case, with conditions for working in inclement weather varying depending on the location of the project and individual Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs).

All building and construction industry participants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with their individual rights and obligations when it comes to working in the heat.

Engaging in industrial action or downing tools because of the warmer weather may potentially be in breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 so it is important that everyone has a good understanding of their individual circumstances.

It is also important that common sense prevails in these conditions.  Everyone in the industry has an obligation to raise any concerns when it comes to maintaining a safe working environment.

In addition to making sure you are up to speed with the varying workplace laws relating to warm weather, it is advised that all industry participants are familiar with the symptoms of heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke.

Employers and managers are also encouraged to maximise the prevention of heat-related illnesses by rescheduling workloads so the hot tasks are completed in the cooler part of the day and providing lengthier breaks in cool facilities.

For more information on the guidelines for working in inclement weather, contact your local state or territory work health and safety organisation. Contact details for state and territory workplace safety organisations can be found here.

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