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

Houston athlete trying out for regional girls’ team

Zone 7 girls’ team is first in eight years

Winter road maintenance standards boosted

Quicker response times, longer winter tire season to be implemented

HVAC overhaul to continue this summer

Upgrades at Houston Secondary School (HSS) are a long-time coming, according to… Continue reading

Northern B.C. rail service is unreliable and inadequate, trade minister says

Bruce Ralston pushes federal minister of transport to ensure reliable supply of rail cars

Celebrate the Value of Volunteering

National Volunteer Week is April 15-21

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Most Read