WorkSafeBC has a YouTube channel with short, informative videos about sun safety for workers. (WorkSafeBC video image)

High heats put outdoor workers at risk of injury

Heat related sickness can lead to other types of workplace accidents, says WorkSafeBC

Outdoor workers are at risk from injuries in temperatures like those seen across southern B.C. this month.

Last year, WorkSafeBC says they accepted 16 such claims, which were caused by heat exhaustion and heat stroke. And the employees with the highest number of heat stress-related claims were those who spend much of their time outdoors or on the road. They are truck and bus drivers, lifeguards, recreation sport and fitness leaders, and even motion-picture production assistants.

WorkSafeBC is reminding both employees and employers to be aware of the risks, and offers suggestions.

“Outdoor workers face many risks when the weather is hot,” says Dan Strand, WorkSafeBC prevention field services director. “By law, employers are required to know if their workers are at risk by performing a heat-stress assessment and implementing a mitigation plan, when necessary.”

Heat stress occurs when your internal temperature increases faster than the body can cool itself.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excess sweating, dizziness, fainting and muscle cramps. Symptoms of heat stroke include cessation of sweating, an increased breathing rate, confusion, seizures and even cardiac arrest.

Here’s what employers can do to lessen the risks:

• Monitor heat conditions and require workers not to work alone

• Ensure there is adequate first-aid coverage and emergency procedures are in place

• Make physical modifications to facilities, equipment, processes to reduce exposure

• Change work practices and policies to limit the risk

• Determine appropriate work-rest cycles; when a worker feels ill it may be too late

• Rotate work activities or use additional workers to reduce exposure

• Establish cooling areas with shade and water

There are things employees can do to help reduce their risks of injury as well:

• Drink plenty of water (one glass every 20 minutes)

• Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric such as cotton

• Take rest breaks in a cool, well-ventilated area

• Do the hardest physical work during the coolest parts of the day, before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m.

• Know your personal risk factors such as medications and any pre-existing conditions

• Check the signs and symptoms for yourself and co-workers

• Learn more about heat stress at worksafebc.com and watch videos on their YouTube channel.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Local Hero Awards coming to the North Island

“These people are making a difference in our communities and deserve to get recognized.”

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Grant funding denied for Fort Rupert Curling Club’s new roof, District on the hook for full costs

“I think we did our job in helping the curling club have a facility that is no longer leaking.”

Port Hardy Fire Rescue puts out structure fire

Approximately 20 firefighters responded to the incident.

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw warns dealers and bootleggers they are not welcome

“My hope is that our community works together on this problem as one.”

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read