BC is gearing up for another heat wave, and while it will not be as severe as last year’s, there will still be a need for extra caution in the workplace.
WorkSafe BC’s Senior Manager of Prevention Field Services Suzana Prpic says “We are hoping that the serious heat wave in 2021 has raised awareness about the dangers of working in high temperatures.”
She says there is three ways the heat wave will effect workers:
- Direct and indirect sunlight
- Air temperatures being higher than skin temperature
- High humidity
These were all key factors in 115 claims from workers during last year’s heat wave, an increase of 180% in annual heat stress related reports. 74 of the reports were outdoor workers, 41 were indoor.
To cut down on these incidents this year, WorkSafe has suggested the following for employers:
– 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.
Remember to drink plenty of water, one glass every 20 minutes is recommended.
You can find out more about heat stress here.