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Heat stress index in Australia

These guidelines are for the use of Australian PSA members who may be required to work in hot

conditions, or who are exposed to excessive heat and other adverse climatic conditions during

their employment. The guidelines also cover situations involving both indoor or outdoor



Working in high temperatures may affect the health of individual workers. The health effects

which may result from working in hot conditions are often referred to as Heat Stress.

The effects of heat stress can vary with individual workers …………………

Outdoor work

Generally, workers involved in outdoor work are at greater risk from adverse climatic

conditions. The ‘trigger temperature’ for remedial action for outdoor work

recommended is 30 degrees Celsius. If temperatures reach, and are sustained at this level

for 2 hours, or more, the following procedures are recommended to be followed.

30 – 32 degrees Celsius: 10 minute break per hour from outside work.

32 – 35 degrees Celsius: 15 minute break per hour from outside work

35 – 36 degrees Celsius: 30 minute break per hour from outside work.

37 degrees Celsius, plus: cease outside work until a sustained temperature decrease.

The above temperature/ rest formula applies to light, or very moderate physical activity. If

the work involves any type of heavy work and/or rapid physical activity, the rest ratio in the

formula must be increased by a minimum of 50% for each temperature range.

Any rest breaks, or cessation of work, during normal working hours shall be paid work time.

(37 degrees Celsius is a critical temperature, as workers who are required to carry out

reasonably active physical work at this temperature, or above, irrespective of acclimatisation

to high temperatures, will be at significant risk of increasing their body temperature to the

point where they are in danger of Heat Stroke.)

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