Factsheet - Heating up
Working in hot temperatures
Working in the hot summer months can be uncomfortable. Hot temperatures can contribute to reduced efficiency in job performance, more mistakes being made, the accelerated onset of fatigue, and a higher potential for serious harm.
Working in hot temperatures will affect different people in different ways – problems may include:
- increased irritation
- mood changes
- increased heart activity
Improving comfort during hot weather
In many work environments it may not be possible to control uncomfortable temperatures, especially for outdoor work. But there are some useful tips for managing the negative effects of hot temperatures during your working day.
- If you can pick the time of day to carry out physically exerting tasks, do them either early in the morning before it gets too hot, or in the evening.
- If working outdoors, wear a sunhat and sun-block.
- Drink plenty of water; avoid tea, coffee and soft drinks with high sugar content.
- Take shorter, more frequent rest breaks.
Employers have to provide and maintain a safe working environment and should make sure employees have adequate protection while working in hot temperatures.
- Ensure employees are suitably clothed for hot conditions. If they wear a uniform, make sure it is appropriate.
- In factories and offices, increase air speed and movement using ventilation systems, windows or individual fans.
- Place indoor machinery that produces heat in a well ventilated or isolated area.
- If work is indoors, provide blinds, curtains or reflective coatings on windows to reduce direct sunlight.
- People need time to acclimatise. For the first 5 to 7 days of intense heat, lighter duties with longer rest periods should be assigned.
- Healthy eating should be promoted and fatty foods should be avoided.
Read more about working in temperatures on the Department of Labour’s health and safety website