Working in the hot sun

Photo credit: Ronnie Puckett on Flickr

It’s going to be hotter-than-usual across the country this summer, says Environment Canada – and I can’t wait! As a writer, I can work from pretty much anywhere, and if I’m hot, it’s no problem to get enough water, shade, and rest.

But it’s not so easy for people in other jobs – especially folks who work outside. Working in the heat may at first feel uncomfortable, but it can lead to serious health complications and even death in extreme cases.

Recognizing the signs

Workers should pay attention to the following signs of heat exhaustion: excessive sweating, muscle cramps, shallow breathing, increased heart rate, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.

Here in BC, employers are required to “provide adequate training and education to all workers at risk for heat stress, their immediate co-workers, and their supervisor,” reads Preventing Heat Stress At Work, from WorkSafeBC, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Punjabi.

More info

Recently I’ve spoken with two managers who said they’d been talking with staff about working in the heat. One works with bus drivers; the other works with school grounds keepers. I’ll be sharing their stories here soon, and in the meantime, here are some resources you can share or use at work.

It’s way too hot! Protect Yourself from Extreme Heat from Health Canada

Heat Stress from CUPE National Health and Safety Branch

Heat Stress Facts from Princeton University, New Jersey

OSH Answers: Hot Environments – Health Effects
from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Heat Stress, a NIOSH Safety and Health Topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Heat Stress in the Workplace: What You Need to Know as an Employer from Britain’s Health and Safety Executive

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  1. Pingback: Year-end wrap up for 2011 — Speaking of Safety

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