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Your rights in extreme weather

Every worker has the right to a safe workplace

Every worker can be impacted by extreme weather. United Workers Union members are already on the front lines of the climate crisis. Floods, bushfires, cyclones, droughts, smoke, extreme heat and severe humidity places our workplace health and safety at significant risk.  

It is the employer’s responsibility to: 

  • Provide a safe workplace – for everyone including contractors and labour hire. 
  • To control all risks to health and safety, with the goal of eliminating all risks. 
  • To consult with workers about all WHS matters. 

If there is an imminent and serious risk to health and safety, every worker has a legal right to cease work, on paid time, when it is not safe. If you can’t cease work (e.g. Carers), you can change how you work. 

Extreme weather and climate impacts are workplace health and safety risks, these risks also impact workers on their way to and from work, in their homes and communities. With impacts such as extreme heat compounding over time.  

Climate change will increase in intensity and frequency, and things will get worse before they get better. Extreme weather, climate disasters and climate impacts threaten our workplace health and safety, our job security and our future.  

Many UWU members, together have taken climate action at their workplaces, bargained and won climate clauses in their agreements, such as paid climate disaster leave and taken action to protect their health and safety from climate threats.  

To learn more about your rights in extreme weather, how to exercise them and how to become a workplace health and safety representative, sign up to an ‘Extreme Weather at Work – Workplace Health and Safety training’, talk to your organiser or our member rights team, and check out our training page for HSR training dates. 

Not a member? Become a UWU member today.