Employee's guide - temperature
This section outlines what you can do if you think there is a problem with thermal comfort, heat stress, or cold stress in your workplace. It is important for you to report these problems to your management, union or other workplace representative. You may have to work with your management and fellow employees to get permission to take some of the steps below, but by working together it is more likely that suitable, long-term solutions can be found.
What can you do?
There are a number of things that you can do to improve thermal comfort in your workplace:
- add or remove layers of clothing depending on how hot or cold you are
- use a desk or pedestal fan to increase air movement
- use window blinds (if available) to cut down on the heating effects of the sun
- in warm situations, drink plenty of water (avoid caffeinated or carbonated drinks)
- if possible, work away from direct sunlight or sources of radiant heat
- take regular breaks to cool down in warm situations and heat up in cold situations
- raise the issue with your managers or, if you can, with your union or other workplace representatives
Although any of the actions outlined above may go some way to alleviating your thermal discomfort, there are also a number of things that your manager or employer could do to help further.
Talk to your manager, supervisor, union representative or employee representative about:
- where possible ensuring windows that open, fans are provided to promote local cooling and radiators can be switched off or air conditioning units are maintained
- introducing work systems to limit exposure, such as flexible hours or early/late starts to help avoid the worst effects of working in high temperatures
- relaxing formal dress codes
- insulating hot plant or pipes
- moving workstations away from hot plant or out of direct sunlight
- including assessments of thermal risk as part of workplace risk assessments