There is no official heat policy for traders at QVM but as summer takes hold under our tin roofs it is a good time to review trading arrangements and whether we need more protective measures in place.
Many traders have their own heat policy – “I don’t come in if the temperature exceeds 35C” for instance – but that choice requires foregoing part of their annual leave entitlement. It could be said that the 8 weeks leave for PE Traders (less for SL Traders) is designed to cover such contingencies, but with global warming a fact of life for our planet, the need for this sort of leave is likely to increase. In their Heatwave Plan the Victorian Government in fact states – “It is expected that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of heatwaves in Victoria.”
The impact of heat can probably be measured in a couple of ways. Firstly the impact on individuals, particularly our older traders, and secondly, the impact on produce, particularly perishables. Wooden products are particularly prone to heat damage and products like fresh food, cosmetics and confectionary are also affected.
The Victorian State Government has a Heatwave Plan which contains warnings for people most at risk in our community and one of those categories is the 65+ age group which includes a significant number of traders. During last week’s heat wave the following warnings were issued – “The Department of Health is issuing this heat health alert to notify you of forecast extreme heat conditions. You should respond in accordance with your heat plan. The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast temperatures above heat health thresholds for Friday 2nd January 2015 in the following weather forecast district/s: Central District.” A similar warning was issued for the Saturday that followed.
The Melbourne temperature on those days reached 39.4C and 38.4C respectively, and of course under our tin roofs the temperature gets even higher. Last Saturday we measured an extra 3-4 degrees under the roof in K shed.
Hardship and risk are part of operating small businesses. Traders understand that they cannot be protected from all contingencies but, when personal health is at stake, and a Government body recommends heat thresholds, we suggest that a policy is in fact in place. Traders who abide by Government health recommendations should not be penalised for taking heat related leave.
08/01/2015 17:42:37 Heat "We should not be penalized when the temp rises above 36 degrees,if we use our entitlement from our 4/8 weeksi it is gone. Surely management can appreciate this. "
12/01/2015 16:14:45 Summer "At JLP Melbourne: We are decided not to work above 45C." Mino