Timely reminder to protect workers from the heat
This summer, the Queensland Government issued a reminder to businesses about the risks of working in heat and urged businesses to have plans in place to help keep workers safe.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said employers had a work health and safety obligation to protect their workers from heat-related illness.
“Working in the heat can not only be uncomfortable, it can be dangerous and even fatal.”
Minister Grace highlighted the risk of death with tragic examples of workers who have suffered fatal heat-related illness.
“In 2020, a worker collapsed and died after picking fruit on a farm in high temperatures; and in 2021, a North Queensland worker died from multiple organ failure due to heat-related illness,” she explained.
“In both cases, the businesses involved were prosecuted and fined for failing to comply with health and safety duties.”
Minister Grace urged employers to take steps to reduce the risks to workers.
“The solutions can be as simple as providing shade, avoiding outdoor work during the hottest part of the day, and ensuring inductions for new workers cover key safety measures,” she said.
“An individual’s risk factors need to be considered in conjunction with environmental factors and the nature of the work. The type of work, clothing, medications, hydration levels, fitness and medical conditions are all part of the consideration. Remember, conditions can change daily so regular risk assessments are vital.
“Every single worker in Queensland has the right to go home to their loved ones at the end of the day, and employers have an obligation to keep them safe,” Ms Grace said.
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