Record temperature highlights heat hazards

With Summer well and truly in full swing, Onslow, a Western Australian town approximately 100km from Exmouth, took the full brunt of the heat last Thursday reaching an equal hottest on record temperature of 50.7 degrees Celsius (C).

Nearby Pilbara towns Roebourne and Mardie also clocked 50.5C, breaking a new record for the second hottest day recorded nationally.

The extreme heat in the Pilbara means severe working conditions in the mining towns and tremendous safety risks associated.

Safe Work Australia has outlined ways to manage the risks associated with working in heat and information on what to do if a worker begins to suffer from a heat-related illness.

The persons conducting a business or undertaking must ensure they consult the workers when identifying hazards and assessing the risks, and when they make decisions about ways to eliminate and minimise the risks.

They also must ensure that ventilation is adequate and that workers in extreme heat situations are able to carry out their work without risk to health and safety.

Workers must take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and not adversely affect the health and safety of other people.

They must comply with reasonable instructions from their supervisors and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety at the workplace that has been notified to them.

It is imperative that everything that is reasonably practicable to eliminate the risks associated with working in the heat is done.

This may include cancelling certain work tasks, rescheduling tasks to cooler parts of the day or waiting for hot conditions to pass.

If you cannot eliminate the risk, you must minimise it as much as reasonably practicable.

If any workers are suffering from severe heat exhaustion or heat stroke, you should call an ambulance immediately and perform first aid until an ambulance arrives.

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