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Type: Journal article
Title: What can we learn about workplace heat stress management from a safety regulator complaints database?
Author: Hansen, A.
Pisaniello, D.
Varghese, B.
Rowett, S.
Hanson-Easey, S.
Bi, P.
Nitschke, M.
Citation: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2018; 15(3):459-1-459-9
Publisher: MDPI AG
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 1661-7827
Statement of
Alana Hansen, Dino Pisaniello, Blesson Varghese, Shelley Rowett, Scott Hanson-Easey, Peng Bi and Monika Nitschke
Abstract: Heat exposure can be a health hazard for many Australian workers in both outdoor and indoor situations. With many heat-related incidents left unreported, it is often difficult to determine the underlying causal factors. This study aims to provide insights into perceptions of potentially unsafe or uncomfortably hot working conditions that can affect occupational health and safety using information provided by the public and workers to the safety regulator in South Australia (SafeWork SA). Details of complaints regarding heat exposure to the regulator's "Help Centre" were assembled in a dataset and the textual data analysed thematically. The findings showed that the majority of calls relate to indoor work environments such as kitchens, factories, and warehouses. The main themes identified were work environment, health effects, and organisational issues. Impacts of hot working conditions ranged from discomfort to serious heat-related illnesses. Poor management practices and inflexibility of supervisors featured strongly amongst callers' concerns. With temperatures predicted to increase and energy prices escalating, this timely study, using naturalistic data, highlights accounts of hot working conditions that can compromise workers' health and safety and the need for suitable measures to prevent heat stress. These could include risk assessments to assess the likelihood of heat stress in workplaces where excessively hot conditions prevail.
Keywords: occupational health; heat exposure; qualitative
Description: Published: 6 March 2018
Rights: © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
RMID: 0030083543
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15030459
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Public Health publications

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