Low temperatures and long days of working outside do not mix well together, so it’s no surprise that along with reports of the recent cold snap in Australia, tradies are being urged to keep an eye on the weather and to stop work if temperatures drop drastically.
According to SafeWork NSW, tasks involving cold temperatures can lead to a range of symptoms from physical discomfort through to life threatening conditions. Air temperatures that are too low can contribute to fatigue and cold related illnesses.
Although many Australians may not think cold weather is something to take too seriously, a study published in The Lancet in 2015 found that 6.5% of deaths in Australia were due to cold weather, with only 0.5% from hot weather.
Health and safety guidelines by the Victorian Trades Hall Council state that outdoor workers should take longer breaks if working in an environment where the temperature is dropping and cannot be controlled. And an appropriate work/rest routine is to be applied, meaning paid rest breaks of up to 30 minutes per hour for temperatures under 9C.
Bosses are expected to ‘eliminate exposure to extreme cold’ by ensuring employees have access to heating, shelter, and waterproof clothing, as outlined by Safe Work Australia.