How to tackle heat in the workplace

Heat, whether 'seasonal' or part of the 'normal work environment' can be a hazard - working in heat can lead to workers suffering serious illness and can also lead to increased accidents. 


Your Health and Safety representative (HSR) or Union Delegate should raise heat and hot work as an issue in your workplace. Raise previous issues with heat and hot work and find out what precautions will be put in place to ensure your workplace is safe.

If you don’t have a HSR or Delegate at your workplace contact the Union and we will assist you.


The CFMEU can help you with drafting and negotiating a policy with your employer. A heat / hot work policy can cover a range of things that will address comfort and health concerns. These can include:

  • Adequate facilities - such as air conditioning and/or fans, cool vests; cool drinking water etc.
  • Extra rest breaks – paid rest breaks can be negotiated so that extra breaks can be taken when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees or where conditions affect your health.
  • Rescheduling work – strenuous work, such as loading; unloading or moving materials, can be performed during the cooler part of the day.
  • Working outdoors - where work is performed outdoors, work should be scheduled to minimise time outdoors at the hottest times of the day. Workers must also be provided with appropriate PPE – glasses; hats; sunscreen; adequate shaded areas for rest breaks and cool drinking water.

Know your rights - by law employers must provide you with a working environment that is safe and without risks to your health. The law doesn’t specify a maximum reasonable temperature, but employers are expected to take steps to deal with situations where the temperature is uncomfortably high.

If you already have a heat / hot work policy in your workplace, make sure it’s working for you and your work mates. If you think it needs to be improved or changed, speak to your union organiser and HSR about arranging a meeting to renegotiate the policy. 

Click on the links below to download the leaflet, poster and the heat pack that contains everything you'll need to negotiate a heat policy for your workplace. 

Heat stress leaflet 

Heat stress poster

Heat pack

detailed information for Workplace Health and Safety Representatives and union delegates

If you want better health and safety at work, make sure you’re all in the Union. The workplaces with the best health and safety policies are the workplaces where everyone is a member of the Union.

The CFMEU supports members, Health and Safety Reps (HSRs) and Union Delegates in their work to ensure a safe workplace. We can also investigate problems and take them up with management to get improvements.

Not a member? Join here
or call us on 1800 060 556

Union Workplaces are Safer Workplaces



Authorised by Michael O'Connor, National Secretary,165 Bouverie Street Carlton 3053