How can heat stress be prevented when it is very hot and/or humid?
To ensure the safety of employees at work, an employer should take all practicable steps to prevent heat stress where employees are required to work in hot environments. Since so many factors are involved, and since the outcome can be fatal, assessing whether or not hot conditions of work are likely to cause heat stress is a job for a specialist. Occupational Health and Safety consultants are listed in publications such as Safeguard Buyer's Guide or the YellowPages telephone directory. Various steps can be taken to prevent heat stress, including:
installing air conditioning,
wearing light, loose fitting clothing,
taking more frequent rest breaks,
drinking cold beverages (ones that do not have caffeine or alcohol),
allowing flexibility to permit less physically demanding activities during peak temperature periods,
using screens or umbrellas to create shade,
wearing cooling jackets.
For further information please refer to online publications: What you need to know about Temperature in Places of Work & Guidelines for the Management of Work in Extremes of Temperature
More information on thermal comfort and working in hot evironments can also be found on the following overseas websites. Please note that these websites may contain references to legal requirements that differ from those in New Zealand. Hence, as noted above, assessing the potential for harm from work in hot or cold conditions is a job for a specialist.
Working in Hot Environments - Health Effects
Thermal Comfort for Office Work
What are the exposure limits for working in hot environments?
Working in Hot Environments - Control Measures
Date Modified: Friday, 5 July 2013
Disclaimer: The content on this website covers common problems. It will not answer every question
and should not be used as a substitute for legislation or legal advice.State sector employers
and employees may be affected by some differences in the laws that apply to them (e.g. State
Sector Act 1988).The Department of Labour takes no responsibility for the results of any actions taken
on the basis of information on this website, nor for any errors or omissions.