Avoiding heat stress

Don’t be smashed by the heat this summer!

Working on an avocado orchard can be very hot, so make sure you take steps to protect your workers and yourself from heat stress this summer.

Working in hot and/or humid environments can be uncomfortable, but there is also the potential to suffer heat-related illness which can be fatal.

The risk is not only related to the temperature but a combination of factors which contribute to heat-related problems at work. These include:

  • exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day
  • carrying out strenuous tasks or work for sustained long periods
  • exposure to additional heat from machinery
  • inadequate cooling off, rest periods or insufficient water consumption
  • climatic conditions (low air movement, high humidity, high temperature)
  • inappropriate clothing
  • factors that may cause dehydration such as poor diet, vomiting, diarrhoea, or alcohol and caffeine consumption.

To minimise the risk of stress to your employees:

  • provide rest areas/refuges to escape the heat that are close to their work and under shelter
  • select workers who have become acclimatised to the work environment
  • where possible, schedule work in cooler times of the year or at night, early morning or late afternoon
  • provide work-rest intervals to ensure sufficient breaks are taken
  • provide cool drinks or water as close as possible to the work area
  • help workers to monitor their hydration status via hydration test strips and urine colour charts
  • encourage workers to avoid diuretic drinks immediately prior to starting work and to rehydrate between shifts
  • encourage workers to consume water at the start of the shift so as to maximise their hydration status
  • ensure they are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as:
    • a hat
    • vented safety eye wear (where safe to do so)
    • protective clothing (especially if made from natural fibre, will provide some protection against contact burns and radiation)
    • wearing light coloured (especially white, and reflective clothing e.g. aluminised)
    • wearing lightweight/cotton undergarments.

Use Workplace Health and Safety’s (WHSQ) heat stress calculator to help you determine the risks of heat stress at your workplace.
For more information about heat stress visit worksafe.qld.gov.au.


This article was provided by WorkSafe Queensland for the Guacamole of 21 December, 2017.

Author: WorkSafe Qld
Date Published: 21/12/2017