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Freight members working in open weather

Mar 18, 2011News

A request was made from members concerning the exposure to the open weather and conditions when working for long periods of time without the provision of proper shelter, basic needs such as cold water specifically at the various loading and unloading sites around the state and air-conditioned cabs.

Our aim will be to address provision of shelter, cold water and amenities.

The first step is to identify the sources of heat or cold. The RTBU will formulate a checklist for our delegates to complete on site to look at the work environment; the plant used, and work processes and practices.

A risk assessment should consider how the work being done interacts with (or generates) hot or cold conditions. A few examples of what the assessment entails are below:

The effects of heat and cold on the body are influenced by environmental factors including:

• Air temperature – how hot or cold the surrounding air is;

• Humidity the moisture content in the air;

• Air movement including air speed (or wind speed), and air circulation;

• Radiant heat radiating from the sun, or emitted by plant, buildings, fixtures or processes.

Other things can magnify the effect of these factors. For example by themselves, high or low air temperature, or humidity, will not necessarily present a serious hazard at work. However, if the worker is required to wear heavy protective clothing, the potential for harm may be greatly increased.