CFMEU campaign for high temperatures

Friday 25 Oct 2019

 
The policy has been taken up by 140 commercial contractors and subcontractors across southeast Queensland after a campaign by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union, according to The Australian, including the $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf project in Brisbane.

The paper notes Bureau of Meteorology data shows there were 13 days over the past year when these weather conditions applied. Under the guidelines, employees will be alerted to possible “extreme hot weather” the day before a shift, and work will be modified including by rescheduling “hot tasks” and potentially limiting days to eight hours.

Where the temperature is 28C and humidity 75 per cent or more “after three hours from the commencement of a shift there will be an orderly cessation of work and preparations for safe completions of critical tasks currently underway … or modifications to the workload”.

The policy also calls for work to stop if the temperature hits 35C, irrespective of humidity, which is consistent with guidelines in other states.

The heat stress policies were introduced at the recommendation of the coroner as part of an inquest into the 2013 death Glenn Newport, who collapsed while working in extremely hot conditions on a coal seam gas pipeline construction site near Roma in Queensland’s southern inland.

CFMEU assistant secretary Jade Ingham said in a statement, “This is not new policy, and we are now coming into the third summer it has been in place, during which time I have no doubt it has saved many workers from serious injury or worse”.

“Our policy has been grossly misrepresented. The policy does not mean workers automatically walk off the job when the temperature rises. It means there is a requirement to better manage a job site so heat impacts are managed and minimised. This can be achieved through measures such as rotating workers, more regular rest and hydration breaks, rescheduling things like concrete pours to earlier hours, or perhaps adjusting work during extreme heat to areas of a site that are less exposed”.

Source: news.com.au, CFMEU

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