What To Do In Cases of Extreme Temperature
The AEU advises Workplace Health & Safety representatives, Sub-branch Presidents and Principals to work together closely to minimise discomfort and safety risks to students and staff.
To be ready for extremely hot days, we encourage the following action:
- Have a thermometer in every classroom, gymnasium, hall, common area and office where extreme heat is likely to be a problem. If your school does not have enough thermometers, your AEU officers are here to help. Just call 62727900.
- Use our Temperature Record Sheet or something similar to identify trouble spots across your location (PDF | Word).
- Workplace Health & Safety representatives should meet with principals to develop or review contingency plans to manage work and students safely on days of extreme temperatures. The Education & Training has provided an Expected High Temperature Schools Preparation Checklist to aid in developing a contingency plan.
Whenever physical conditions become distressing to students and intolerable to staff:
- Members should advise the Workplace Safety representative (aka Occupational Health & Safety representative);
- The Workplace Health & Safety representative should immediately consult with the principal/manager of the site and verify the actual temperature of the location;
- The Workplace Health & Safety representative, with the support of the AEU Sub-branch, should request appropriate action be taken to rectify the situation. This action may include implementing procedures for the relocation or cancellation of classes.
- AEU officers are ready and able to provide advice and support to help achieve a solution. Just call 62727900.
List of Workplace Health & Safety Representatives
Workplace Health & Safety Reps (aka OH&S Reps) have a very important role in situations where schools are experiencing extreme temperatures. If you're not sure who your Health & Safety Representative is, you can consult this List of Workplace Safety Representatives.
ETD Advice for Principals/ Managers
ETD Guidelines on Managing High Temperatures in ACT Public Schools
"Principals/Managers will, prior to the commencement of summer and no later than day 1, Term 4 of each year:
- develop, and then annually review a site specific heat management plan (School Action Plan)
send advice home to parents and carers regarding:regularly service and maintain engineering controls for cooling systems
- dressing child/ren in suitable clothing and/or
- modifications to uniform requirements, in line with the school and Department Dress Standards and Colour Code Policy which incorporates Occupational Health and Safety and Sun Smart requirements
- advice available from ACT Health - Avoiding Heat Related Stress – Information for Schools, and
- modifications to the educational program required to reduce the potential for heat stress.
- schedule required maintenance as a high priority
- undertake a visual assessment/inspection of the condition of shade structures, windows treatments and cooling systems (refer to Schools Expected High Temperature (EHT) Preparation Checklist), and
- where required, contact School Capital Works on 6205 9127 to arrange for repairs that are estimated to be at, or over $5000.
Principals/ Managers during the summer season will:
- monitor classroom temperatures using a dry bulb thermometer as required
- arrange for the WSR and Deputy WSR to meet with them to develop or review contingency plans to manage staff and students safety on days of extreme temperatures, and
- where forecast temperatures are expected to exceed 32 degrees celsius, implement strategies to reduce heat stress including:
- rotating classes around cooler areas on site such as the hall or library
- providing regular access to water for students and staff
- modifying playground access to shaded areas only
- opening windows during cooler temperatures/times of the day to ensure air movement
- optimise ventilation, air movement and/or shade
- using additional fans/coolers to relieve discomfort due to high temperatures in classrooms
- consider temporary modification of school uniform requirements, and
- advising staff, students and parents, by forwarding a letter/email to parents at the beginning of term 4 and term 1 every year, of the need for suitable clothing, adequate fluid intake and their choice to keep students at home during a period of high temperature where a student is experiencing symptoms of heat stress/discomfort.
When high temperatures persist, Principals will:
- lodge a hazard alert to formally advise the Department of the issue (forms can be accessed at http://sharedservices/actgovt/WHS/default.htm under 'forms' or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org); the Department will arrange for referral of the issue to the WHS Coordinator, and
- contact Schools Capital Works on 6205 9127 to arrange data logging of classroom temperatures and investigation of the site specific issue.
If necessary, the Department will advise the Principal to follow the steps outlined on the Expected High Temperatures Temporary Closures Checklist."