Preparing for Summer at Work
 
Workplace temperature is a key concern for many workers, especially over the summer months. If heat concerns you at work we suggest you prepare for summer by working collaboratively on strategies with your local management to try to manage and fix these concerns.

What can be done?

Now, before it gets too hot, is a good time to meet with your Safety Committee and your Store Manager to develop a plan for this summer. Please try and think of measures that would be both effective and practical.

Try to find a good time to meet and try to be positive through this process.

Every workplace is different so consider what is suitable in your specific workplace conditions. Various measures that may help include:

- Ensuring any existing air-conditioning systems are maintained prior to summer;
- Providing drink bottles or neck ties;
- Ensuring easy access to cool drinking water;
- Providing icy poles and other cool refreshments on hot days;
- Providing extra breaks in cool areas;
- Making greater allowances in hot conditions, such as carton rates;
- Bringing in extra staff to help with workloads;
- Providing shelter in areas where workers are in the open;
- Installing fans where safe to do so;
- Moving manual work to cooler parts of the day such as the early morning;
- Providing breathable uniforms;
- Ensure you look out for workers, especially those at higher risk due to medical conditions, pregnancy, or nature of work; and
- Train workers on how to deal with heat. A useful rule of thumb is drinking half a litre of water every hour in hot conditions.

What should I do if the air-conditioning is not working?

If your workplace has air-conditioning and it has broken down alert your Store Manager and Safety Committee. They should take immediate steps to log this issue so that it can be repaired. If you are in a Shopping Centre your air-conditioning may be the responsibility of Centre Management and so it should be raised with them immediately. If it is not being resolved in a timely manner contact the SDA.

In the meantime you should talk to your Manager or Safety Committee about implementing the measures described above
.
If you have air-conditioning but it is being switched off when workers are still in the workplace speak to your Manager or Safety Committee about having the air-conditioning on at all times when work is being performed.

When am I at risk?

If you feel unwell you should seek help and tell a manager. Seek further medical treatment or advice if necessary. The warning signs of heat stress include:

- fatigue
- dizziness
- muscle cramps
- nausea
- dehydration
- headaches
- vomiting
- breathlessness
- clammy or flushed skin

What should I do then?

If you experience such symptoms, or are concerned about experiencing heat stress, speak immediately to your line manager.

If the matter is not resolved, please speak immediately to the Store Manager. Be clear about how the heat affects you and the areas where there are concerns. You may wish to put concerns in writing, and please keep a copy.

Further Questions?

Please speak to your Union Delegate, SDA Organiser, or contact the SDA on 131 732 if you have further questions or require support at any stage.

Bernie Smith
BRANCH SECRETARY-TREASURER