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Heat stress and solar ultraviolet radiation exposure

Heat stress and solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure are well-recognised work health and safety hazards for outdoor workers in hot conditions.

With South Australian summers renowned for being very hot and dry, employers must manage risks associated with heat stress and solar UV radiation.

Related Information

Outdoor work

Working in hot conditions

Work health and safety laws require working environments to be free of risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable, and include illness associated to working in heat.

Heat stress and heat-related illnesses are serious but preventable. More than just 'feeling off', they can cause serious health issues, and in the case of heat stroke, can be fatal.

Our Working in Hot Conditions (PDF 120kb) fact sheet provides practical advice for preventing heat illness and the health and safety risks arising from working in hot conditions. Topics covered include:

  • factors contributing to heat illness
  • recognising signs and symptoms of heat illness
  • assessing the risks and identifying the hazards
  • controlling and preventing the risk (including engineering controls)
  • heat discomfort.

Workplaces should plan ahead and ensure all necessary measures for preventing heat illness can be implemented, particularly when hot weather is predicted.

Skin cancer

Employees who work outdoors for all or part of the day are at greater risk of skin cancer. All skin types can be damaged by exposure to ultra violet (UV) radiation. Damage is permanent and irreversible and increases with each exposure.

Under South Australian occupational health and safety legislation, employers should be considering steps to reduce this risk and protect their employees from ongoing exposure to solar UV radiation that could lead to skin cancer.

Implementing a comprehensive skin protection program, including a range of protective measures, can prevent sun-related injuries and reduce the suffering and costs associated with skin cancer.

Education session for outdoor workers

Outdoor workers receive 5 to 10 times more UV radiation exposure than indoor workers, significantly increasing their risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma. Work health and safety legislation requires workplaces to provide a safe working environment and workers have an obligation to cooperate with their workplace sun protection program.

Cancer Council SA can provide an education session designed to educate your workers about the effects of UV radiation exposure, skin cancer prevention and early detection.

Book your session today by completing the expression of interest form, from the Cancer Council website, and emailing or 8291 4147.


The Cancer Council Australia
Link to website

SafeWork SA Catalogue

Further resources can be accessed from SafeWork SA's Library catalogue

Further information

The Managing the Work Environment and Facilities - Code of Practice provides practical guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking on how to provide and maintain a physical work environment that is without risks to health and safety.

Heat Stress Standard and Documentation Developed for Use in the Australian Environment, available for purchase from the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists.