Heat - Preparing for Summer 2023 Banner
Workplace temperature is a key concern for many warehouse workers, especially over the summer months. It is predicted to be a very hot summer and we have already been experiencing high temperatures. If heat stress concerns you or your fellow workmates in your workplace, prepare for summer by working collaboratively on a plan with your local management right now if you haven’t already. Start by:

Step 1: Assessing the areas of concern in your workplace. Talk to other workers in key areas

Step 2: Look at your current safety plan or policies that cover this area, if any, and review to see if these measures adequately address the risks you have identified with your manager. 

Step 3: Develop the plan or reaffirm the current plan and ensure everything is in place to ensure it happens. This includes ensuring everyone knows about the heat plan.

What can a plan include?

Various measures that have helped in other sites, especially during the pandemic, include:

  • Installing cooling systems, fans or devices such as whirly birds and extractors to increase airflow and ventilation and remove hot air from buildings;
  • using portable or smaller air-conditioning units/systems to ventilate and cool areas poorly ventilated & smaller enclosed areas;
  • providing cladding or insulation on buildings to reduce radiant heat and/or also reduce radiant heat from sunlights by fully or partly covering them;
  • Providing breathable hi-vis uniforms, relaxing clothing requirements and relaxing requirements for any personal protective equipment;
  • Providing individual drink bottles filled with cool water or neck ties;
  • Providing icy poles and other cool refreshments on hot days;
  • Providing extra breaks in cool, well ventilated areas;
  • Moving manual work to cooler parts of the day such as the early morning;
  • Making greater allowances for work pace in hot conditions;
  • Bringing in extra staff to help with workloads so workers can be relieved;
  • Providing shelter in areas where workers are in the open;
  • Maintaining any existing cooling or extraction systems are prior to summer;
  • Training workers on how to deal with heat including ensuring they hydrate well before shift and recognising the warning signs of dehydration. A useful rule of thumb is drinking half a litre of water every hour in hot conditions; and
  • Setting up buddy systems for more vulnerable workers in hot conditions such as workers who are pregnant, those with menopause, and workers with certain medical issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

For such measures to work, preparation and communication are crucial. Management and team have to work together to prepare for summer and they need to communicate throughout the day and work together as conditions can change quickly. Management must monitor the working conditions of the site, including hot spots.

For more information please refer to this link: bit.ly/3ThKhP4

As with any other issue workers can seek support or assistance at any stage from an SDA delegate or by contacting the SDA directly on 131 732.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024