As summer approaches, once again employers are reminded to take measures to prevent fatigue caused by working outdoors.  Protection for workers from UV radiation and reduction of the hazards associated with working in hot and sunny environments is essential.

Fatigue and heat-stress can affect a worker’s health, reducing their performance and productivity, and increasing the chance of workplace injury through reduced ability to concentrate, recognise risks and communicate effectively.

Businesses are advised to set realistic workloads and work schedules, as well as to ensure fair distribution of work and provide regular rest breaks.  The following actions should help to reduce workers’ exposure to UV radiation and prevent fatigue:

  • provide and maintain equipment and shelter to protect workers from the sun;
  • provide sun safety information, instruction, training and supervision;
  • rotate tasks to lessen exposure to the sun as well as mental and physical fatigue;
  • schedule work at cooler times of the day;
  • use rest periods in addition to scheduled meal breaks;
  • provide water and encourage workers to stay hydrated;
  • provide personal protective equipment such as:
    • clothing with UPF 50+ rating
    • loose shirts with long sleeves, collars, and long pants;
    • broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30+);
    • sunglasses that meet Australian Standards for UV protection.
  • use plant, machinery and equipment to eliminate or reduce the excessive physical demands of the job.
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