Tradies and other workers are being encouraged to know their rights when it comes to extreme heat.

Most parts of the country are due to (or have already!) experience severely hot temperatures this week, as the country sweats through a heatwave.

Extreme temperatures in some parts of the country are currently expected to last until Australia Day.

Workers around the country are being reminded that they are within their rights to stop working if temperatures are above 35 degrees C.

The national Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has told it’s large member base of more than 100,000 to avoid working in dangerous heat.

“Once the temperature reaches 35C or a humidity level above 75 per cent, there will be an orderly cessation of work and preparations for safe completions of critical tasks currently underway,” says a guide produced by the CFMEU.


“Work should be programmed in such a way as to reduce the risk of heat stress.”

“Sufficient numbers of workers should be engaged to allow rotation of workers in periods of heat.”

“In addition, rest breaks [to be provided] as needed by an individual. Individuals should not be discouraged from taking needed rest breaks.”

A guide to working in the heat by the OHS Reps advises that employers are “expected to prevent your workplace being uncomfortably hot”.

“Your employer has a duty of care under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) to provide a healthy and safe workplace,” the guide reads.

“35C to 40C is considered to be the ‘limit of high temperature tolerance’ for most people.”

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