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What risks does work outside involve? What precautions should be taken for these risks?

  • Written by NewsServices.com

Many people work outside as part of their jobs. Due to the risks associated with working outside, you as an employee may be exposed to health and safety risks. Working outside can be risky for the reasons listed below:

  • - bad weather,

  • sun exposure,

  • heat,

  • cold,

  • air pollution, and

  • bushfires.

Workers will benefit from the information on this page in understanding the hazards of outdoor employment and their employer's obligations.

Working in air pollution

You run the danger of being exposed to air pollution if you work outside. Events like dust storms and bushfires may worsen the quality of the air outside. Health and safety issues could be associated with poor air quality. Risks like these can seriously affect your health, making you less likely to work. If you encounter such a situation, TPD lawyers in Sydney will determine the best way to deal with your situation and ensure that you take the necessary steps accordingly.

The control of air pollution risks

If you want to know if it's safe to work outside, check the air quality index for your area. If you are susceptible to air pollution, tell your employer. If coupled with an underlying medical problem, this becomes especially significant. Always heed the advice of your physician.

Dust and smoke may:

  • lower air quality and affect visibility; collect on equipment and affect plant operations and surface grip; and

  • irritate the eyes, nose, and airways.

The PCBU must implement measures to control health and safety concerns brought on by poor air quality. These could consist of:

  • working inside (where possible).

  • postponing outdoor work until the weather (such as visibility and air quality) gets better.

  • making sure the plant is operating properly and has not been harmed by dust or debris

  • removing any dust and debris from exterior surfaces.

  • supplying personal protection gear. For instance, P2-rated face masks that are properly fitted and provide eye protection.

Working in bad weather

You can encounter potentially dangerous weather conditions if you labour outside. Some examples of unfavourable weather include: storms

  • storms,

  • wind,

  • rain,

  • lightning,

  • fog,

  • hail.

Minimising the dangers of working in bad weather

Health and safety issues might result from poor weather conditions. The following procedures must be in place at your place of business to address the risks to health and safety brought on by inclement weather:

  • working inside (where possible).

  • putting off outside work.

  • facilitating access to housing.

  • locking up buildings and other items, turning off the power, and

  • supplying safety gear including waterproof clothing and eye protection.

The best defence is avoiding adverse weather exposure. For instance, planning work that may be finished indoors or off-site in case of severe weather.

Working in the cold

Extreme cold exposure could be a problem if you work outside.

Taking precautions when working outside in the cold

Hypothermia, a dangerous condition that necessitates prompt medical intervention, can be caused by protracted exposure to cold. The PCBU is required to control the risks that exposure to cold weather poses to your health and safety, including:

  • supplying heat, as in truck cab heaters.

  • offering security, like a tent or the car's cabin.

  • supplying warm, water-resistant garments.

  • allowing employees who aren't used to working in the cold to adjust.

Working in the sun

Even when it's cloudy, if you labour outside, you run the risk of being exposed to the sun's UV rays.

Taking precautions when working outside in the sun

The skin and eyes can suffer lifelong, irreparable damage from exposure to the sun. In Australia, solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the main contributor to skin cancer.

When working in the sun, solar UVR is a risk, and exposure can be exacerbated worse by reflection off specific surfaces and materials. Australia's solar UVR exposure is not just dangerous in the summer.

PCBU’s must reduce their exposure to the sun's harmful rays by,

  • working indoors whenever feasible and only going outside in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings.

  • providing cover and shade;

  • wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and other sun protection gear.

The best defence is to avoid being exposed to UV radiation. For instance, to avoid risky sun exposure, conduct outside work in the morning and evening.

Working near bushfires

If there are any nearby bushfires, you should be aware of them. Follow the directions and suggestions given by the emergency services, and make sure you can leave the area if necessary.

Taking precautions while working near bushfires

Workers may be at danger for health and safety due to bushfires. Keep an eye out and report any smoke or fires right away. Your place of employment is required to be ready and to make you aware of the emergency procedures.

Make sure you always have a means of contact with you if you are working alone (e.g. a mobile phone). If you're operating from a remote location or in a rural area, you need to be able to get assistance quickly.

Make sure your work doesn't put more people at danger for starting or escalating bushfires. This is especially crucial if you work in rural or forested areas. For instance:

  • make sure you transport combustible substances (like fuel) in a secure manner. Containers must be kept in good condition to reduce the danger of leaks.

  • make sure you properly dispose of trash, especially cigarette butts.

If work becomes unsafe…

You may be able to decline to perform unsafe labour in some situations. If there is a substantial risk to your health and safety, you have the right to be concerned. You must notify the PCBU that you have stopped working as soon as you can. Additionally, you must be available to perform adequate substitute employment. On the other hand, if your health deteriorates as you continue to work, you may be entitled to compensation for this. We recommend that you arrange a meeting with work injury lawyers to learn about the details.

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