A Guide to Managing Heat Stress – PDF (2013)


A PDF guidebook provides  thermal stress guidance that has been developed for the Australian environment. HARDCOPY version also available (please see Publications listing).


This 2013 guideline document presents thermal stress guidance that has been developed for the Australian environment. The aim of the document is to provide an emphasis on guidance rather than the establishment of a formal standard. This guidance is not intended to be a definitive document on the subject of heat stress but will provide enough information and further references for employees and employers to manage heat stress in the4 Australian workplace.

In the first part, this guidance document provides a brief summary of the approach for non-technical backgrounds. The second part is a more comprehensive description leading to a single location for those needing to assess and manage heat on the work place.

Provides some definitions around heat stress and describes a three-step approach for managing it. The first step is risk assessment, which uses a flow chart to allow users to easily follow the process to establish which one of three levels of assessment is required:

  • qualitative risk assessment using known parameters such as PPE (Level 1);
  • semi-quantitative risk assessment using ambient data (Level 2); or
  • quantitative risk assessment using personal physiological data (Level 3).

Detail is provided on the types of semi-quantitative analyses that can take place, discussing in particular, the following methods:

  • Predictive Heat Strain;
  • Thermal Work Limit; or the
  • Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index.

Further detail is provided on the types of quantitative, Level 3 analyses that can assess heat strain.

Following on from the assessments this Guidance document indicates the comparison criteria that can be used to determine the level of risk and, subsequently, the heat stress management and controls that can be used to mitigate the identified risks.

This document includes:

  • a bibliography for additional research and resources;
  • a basic thermal risk assessment that can be used to ascertain an individual’s potential to experience a thermal strain event;
  • information on how the body manages heat;
  • heat related illnesses and injuries;
  • physiological factors that contribute to heat illness, including acclimatisation;
  • using urine, core temperature and heart rate as a measure of heat illness;
  • examples of the hierarchy of controls for managing in thermal stressors in the workplace.

Additional information




November 2013


Ross Di Corleto, Ian Firth & Joseph Maté



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