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Factsheet - Heating up

Working in hot temperatures

This photograph shows bottles at a recycling bank. The bottles are being heat treated. A powerful flame is visible and the bottles are read hot.

Working in the hot summer months can be uncomfortable. People can feel tired and irritable. They may be less productive at work and make more mistakes, which results in a greater risk of a serious incident.

In many work situations it may not be possible to control uncomfortable temperatures. For people working outdoors, the temperature cannot be controlled but things like clothing, physical activity and the timing of the work can be carefully managed.

Improving comfort during hot weather

It is often hard to predict how temperature will affect people. Different factors affect the way individuals feel about the heat: age, health, weight, medication, alcohol and the use of illegal substances.

If work is being carried out with appropriate clothing, with no heat source other than the sun, and there is only light to medium physical activity, heat stress is unlikely. The risk of heat stress increases with heavy physical activity, clothing that cannot lose heat, and radiant heat (e.g. from an oven or a furnace).


Read more about working in temperatures on the Department of Labour’s health and safety website