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.
In a timely study for Australian workplaces, with summer approaching, US researchers have found providing electrolyte beverages to those working in hot and humid conditions can prevent muscle damage and associated complications.
Employers have a WHS obligation to allow workers access to toilet and drinking facilities and cannot restrict such access to scheduled breaks, the Federal Court has confirmed in finding a major employer misled young workers on this issue in a Facebook post.
> NSW launches COVID-19 work guidance, addresses misconceptions; > PCBUs warned after worker killed by damaged gate; > Revamped WHS regulator to focus on climate change and violence; and > ACTU applauds Vic's broader workplace death definition.
An employer unlawfully discriminated against an older worker in refusing to engage him for work in a hot environment, with its manager likening the proposed labour-hire arrangement to sending "your dad or granddad" into high-risk conditions, a court has found.