Impacts of hot climatic conditions on work, health, and safety in Australia: A case study of policies in practice in the construction industry

Syeda Hira Fatima, Paul Rothmore, Lynne C. Giles, Peng Bi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Workers in many industries are frequently exposed to hot weather conditions. To protect workers’ health and safety, it is important to evaluate the existing heat-related policies practiced in workplaces in accordance with national guidelines. We used a case study design to evaluate the existing heat-related policies of a large construction company and five of its subcontractors according to the guidelines provided by safe work Australia (SWA). We used snowball sampling to acquire documents from the companies. The retrieved documents were analysed thematically using the framework approach. The main guidance themes and categories were developed deductively based on “the guide for working in heat” provided by SWA. The data was interpreted and summarized. Our results suggest that all policies advised on some administrative control measures, safe work practices for workers, use of personal protective equipment, and emergency response plans. The majority of policies focus on administrative control measures, which may not be practicable at all times and are not a high level of health and safety control if implemented alone. The policies do not comprehensively cover some most important aspects of heat stress management such as consultation with workers, risk assessment of heat hazard, promoting training and awareness programs among workers, and reviewing and evaluating control measures and heat stress incidents. Priorities for heat-related policy development include an increased emphasis on preparation and planning for hot weather in consultation with workers, along with considering location-specific, workplace, and individual risk factors in assessing the heat hazard at the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106197
Number of pages9
JournalSAFETY SCIENCE
Volume165
Early online date19 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Work, health, and safety
  • Heat stress
  • Construction industry
  • Policies
  • Climate change

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