Don’t risk your health when working outdoors
Air quality in parts of NSW is now 5 times higher than the hazardous maximum. All non-essential workers in affected areas should work indoors or from home. You have a right to stop work if it's unsafe. Contact the ASU Industrial Services Team on 02 9310 4000 if you are concerned about your exposure level.
Employers should also be providing alternative duties to any outdoor worker whose health may be adversely affected by the current level of air pollution, including people with pre-existing health issues such as asthma and other lung or heart conditions.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions has provided a Working in Heat – Health and Safety guide.
To the many ASU members volunteering with the Rural Fire Service – thank you for all you do and please stay safe. To our members living in bushfire areas, we hope you are safe. We are here to help if there are any issues regarding your leave during this dangerous time.
Global warming will mean hotter temperatures as well as more bushfires. This is already affecting working people, especially those who work outside. Unfortunately, the Morrison Government has been missing in action. We will continue to call for action on climate change, and for our workplace health and safety laws to be updated to protect workers.
Speaking last week to the Sydney Morning Herald Australian Services Union NSW secretary Natalie Lang said the union had contacted Sydney Water and had received no response in relation to the impact on outdoor workers, including civil maintenance staff, of ongoing pollution levels.
Under the Workplace Health and Safety Act, you are entitled to cease work if working in the current level of air pollution poses a serious risk to your health or safety. If you cease work in these circumstances, you must advise your supervisor, team leader or another person in authority and remain available to carry out suitable alternative work.
If you require advice or support about working in air pollution, please contact the ASU Industrial Services Team on 02 9310 4000.