Working in the Heat Study

Australia has hot summers, and extreme heat waves are increasing. 

Many jobs involve working outside, and many indoor working environments are not suitable or practicable to cool, such as large warehouses, so exposure to occupational heat in Australia is relatively common.  Yet despite this, we have limited understanding about how heat tolerance varies around the nation or how heat affects our health and our capacity to work.

The Working in the Heat study aims to answer, “How do Australian workers and work places cope with heat? At what temperatures do we start to show symptoms of overheating? When must we slow down the pace of work? How does this affect productivity? What strategies successfully keep industry productive without compromising worker health? What strategies do not work?” 

The project is exploring occupational heat exposure across multiple industry types, urban and rural, across southeastern Australia. 

Our primary aim is to generate the knowledge that can prevent heat related illness among Australian workers, and to do this, we need a better understanding of existing workplace practices and heat policies around Australia, and how well these are adopted by workers.

This research specifically seeks to answer the following questions:

  • How does exposure to heat and humidity effect people’s health and ability to continue physical activity on hot days? and
  • What are the ranges of heat tolerances, across the Australian population, and across diverse Australian conditions?

An important part of the project is to match on-site temperature and humidity with a range of effects among workers.

We invite heat exposed industries, and the people who work in them, to participate in this important study. 

There are two ways to participate in the project.

  1. Full participation involves completing a set of questions daily for 15 hot days, and to allow for comparisons to be made, answer those daily questions again for a further 5 cool weather days. These questions are mostly “tick-the-box”, so the time required is only about 5 minutes per day. 
  2. Complete a short survey, by clicking the “Short Survey” link on the right side of this page.

Please email us if you would like to participate in the study or have any questions or comments.

All responses will remain confidential.

Updated:  21 October 2014/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Webmaster