The Federal, state and territory governments have been told to enact greater oversight of the WHS duty to provide resources for workers exposed to heat, and urgently review regulatory frameworks to ensure workers are protected against emerging risks from climate change.
A European holiday worker, whose heat stroke death in Queensland resulted in two WHS prosecutions, was neither acclimatised to the area nor provided with adequate opportunities to escape from the sun, a coroner has found.
A second PCBU has been fined over the heat stress death of a worker, with a court finding it breached its duties as the entity in control of the workplace by failing to provide suitable rest areas or shade.
Forgetfulness is the most common barrier to using sun protection, even for workers with good knowledge and attitudes toward sun safety, highlighting the importance of workplace reminder systems, Australian researchers have found.
In an important study for Australian WHS duty holders, US researchers have demonstrated that workers' bodies can quickly heat up during hot days, countering the common belief among employers that workers are safe from heat risks in the morning.
Employers have been urged to prepare worksites for more "wild summer weather" and prioritise electrical safety, while a resources regulator has warned that recent hot weather shows operators must ensure heat hazards are effectively managed.
Employers with outdoor workers or involved in industries like mining must identify potential emergency situations caused by severe weather or natural disasters, and should conduct seasonal risk assessments based on weather forecasts and local events, according to a WHS regulator.
A business operator who failed to instruct workers on how to self-manage their work capacity in hot conditions has been fined over the heat stress death of a backpacker employee. Meanwhile, a company and one of its directors have been fined for failing to comply with or display a forklift-related prohibition notice.