Summer safety tips for work and play

Follow these tips to stay safe in the summer months — at work, at play, and on the roads, as we move through the summer of 2022. 

Photo of a person walking into the water at a beach in summer at sunset.

Photo credit: Susan Main

Summer is in full swing and we need to keep prepared to avoid heat stress, both indoors and outdoors. Last year, in 2021, WorkSafeBC accepted 115 claims from workers related to heat stress – and 35 percent of these were from people working indoors.

“Whether you are working outdoors on a farm or construction site, or indoors in a restaurant kitchen, or in a factory, heat stress can cause serious injuries and even death,” says Suzana Prpic, senior manager of Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC. “Workers in buildings or vehicles without adequate HVAC systems to mitigate sustained heat are increasingly at risk of heat-related injuries.”

If not recognized and treated early, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Employers are required to have a heat stress mitigation plan. (Read more in this news release from WorkSafeBC.)

Driving in the heat

TranBC reminds drivers how to stay cool and safe while driving. Tips include:

  • Check your vehicle’s oil and transmission fluid levels and ensure the radiator is filled with coolant or antifreeze.
  • Ensure that the air conditioning is working properly.
  • Check your tires for bubbles, cracks, uneven wear, cuts, and other signs of damage.
  • Keep a well-stocked emergency kit in your car.

Summer water safety

Cooling off in the water is always a nice option, if possible. Here are a few (of many more) summer water safety tips from the Canadian Red Cross:

  • Always watch children actively around water — even if they can swim.
  • Be cautious about swimming in open waters, and know what to do if caught in a current.
  • Consider requiring all non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket to keep them at the surface and to help you to see them while supervising.

Reducing exposure to wildfire smoke

Whether driving on the job or working outside, workers can take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke. In my post, Limiting workers’ exposure to wildfire smoke I shared the following tips from WorkSafeBC:

If you drive on the job:

  • Keep vents and windows closed.
  • Operate air conditioning in “recirculate” mode.
  • Turn on headlights to increase visibility from behind (tail lights) as well as in front.
  • Open windows in areas with good air quality, if possible, to prevent carbon dioxide buildup.

If you work outside:

  • Use a respirator, if required, depending on the level of smoke and the work activity.
  • Remember you have the right to refuse work if you feel unsafe.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and avoid heat stress.
  • Decrease your physical activity or exertion level.

Please share these tips with your family, friends, and colleagues. Let me know in the comments below, if you have any safety reminders to add. I hope you enjoy the rest of the season — and stay safe!

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