Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer


Turf Queensland received communications from Terry Anderlini, Director, Tropical Lawns Pty Ltd in far North Queensland which we believe is relevant to all turf farmers and we have copied it below for your information. Turf Queensland is currently in talks with the Department for workplace health, safety and wellness to hold a workshop mid-May to discuss many things surrounding safety and wellness. Watch this space for more information on the workshop.

I am suggesting that Turf Qld should discuss , and perhaps develop a WH&S standard for dress codes for the protection our members who have turf installation crews. With very high temperatures in the range of 35 deg C and up to 45 deg C , and temps throughout the day staying well above 30 degrees, there are a number of factors to consider:

  1. What temperatures and conditions do we expect to be safe for our employees? IS there a maximum temperature that can be considered, what are the surrounding conditions, eg, working beside hot surfaces radiating even higher than ambient temperatures.
  2. What are the main risks we identify on each site. For summer months, the risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion/ severe dehydration is very high and can result in death.
  3. What is appropriate clothing to be worn ? Quite often we are asked to wear hard hats with brims. These have no ventilation whatsoever , fill with sweat in a very short period and escalate the chances of heat stroke hugely. We refuse to do this and will walk away from the site unless this risk is addressed by the principal contractor. Are we OK with long sleeve lightweight shirts with underarm ventilation ? Do we expect our employees to lay turf in long pants on very hot days? Do we recommend/ specify wide brim straw hats with adequate ventilation.
  4. Are we safe laying turf where there is a risk of objects falling from above? A hard hat won’t save anyone in this instance.

 I think there are other factors that should be taken into account , and a good risk assessment is totally necessary to protect our employees and our business.

Government and Principal Contractors make rules that are not appropriate to our employees wellbeing, I believe that as an industry we need to take a stand and develop a safe work method statement that addresses turf laying , in particular dress standards and heat related risks.

My motivation in this is the unsafe  request especially surrounding compulsory wearing of hard hats for somebody who bends up and down 500 times/ hour as compared with a traffic control person who uses no energy all day.

Some of this is brought on by personal experience.

Many years ago, we were required to wear hard hats in very hot conditions laying washed turf on a sand profile new sports field. A new worker, 25 years old with two small children succumbed to heat stroke that day and was hospitalised for a few days. He didn’t return to work , and a few months later for no apparent reason passed away. I cannot help but feel that his death may have been related to that event.

Also I was once very involved with my sons in motocross sports.

At an Australian 4 day enduro event outside of Gympie, 152 of the best riders in the country started the first day in 38 degree temperatures.

By day’s end, 50 of them were hospitalised with heat stress and stroke, two of them were on life support. My group kept up fluids via camelback to the Cairns riders all day, they each drank over 16 litres of water and electrolytes and couldn’t urinate after the race, so severe was their dehydration.

I am happy to be involved in the discussion if necessary.


There are no comments yet

Leave a Comment