Two of the most prominent potential issues for such workers are exposure to ultraviolet radiation and heat stress.
Of course, thermal comfort is an issue that can affect many types of employment, not just those where workers are required to work outdoors. Our guidance on managing thermal comfort provides information and advice on how to manage this broader issue. The important issue to note is that air temperature alone is not the indicator of what conditions are, or are not, appropriate for workers. For this reason, health and safety legislation does not mandate a temperature beyond which outdoor work should cease.
Nonetheless, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 requires persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety of their workers.
PCBUs should consult with their workers and assess the risks associated with outdoor work in various conditions. Our guidance on Consultation and on Risk Management is available to help PCBUS work through this process. Where there is a threat to health and safety, policies, procedures and other interventions should be put in place to eliminate or minimise the associated risks.
For workers who are required to spend time in the sun, a range of preventative measures should be considered, including but not limited to:
Try our Guide to Sun Safety for Outdoor Workers for more information.
Cancer Council ACT's SunSmart Outdoor Workplace Program also has a selection of resources available for your workplace. From online training courses to worksite presentations and comprehensive CD Rom Kits, the Council can assist you toward educating and reinforcing the importance of your workers working safely in the sun. Occupational ultraviolet radiation exposure is a serious health and safety hazard! Are your workers working safely in the sun?