Safe Work Updates – Understand your obligations during the Bush Fires
17th January 2020
by SafeWork NSW
Workers who are not directly involved in firefighting activities may be exposed to smoke while working indoors and outdoors during periods of significant bushfire activity.
While you can’t control the movement of bushfire smoke, you can control where, how and when your workers undertake their duties.
Businesses and other PCBUs have obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2017 to ensure you provide and maintain a safe working environment for your workers in so as far as is reasonably practicable.
If work needs to go ahead you should:
Businesses and other PCBUs should also advise workers that if they have concerns about their health, they should seek medical advice from their doctor.
Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical attention.
People who are sensitive to smoke and air pollution can be more vulnerable to heat related illness as well, so staying hydrated and cool is important.
As a worker, you have obligations under WHS legislation. You should raise your concerns about bushfire smoke with your manager or WHS representative as soon as possible.
If you are not satisfied with the response you may contact SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50 or raise your concerns via our Speak Up platform.