Heat stress warning for WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC is warning employers and workers of the increased risk of developing heat stress and heat stroke symptoms.

Temperatures in the low to high-thirties are expected in parts of the Kootenay region until Sunday, July 5 and WorkSafeBC is warning employers and workers of the increased risk of developing heat stress and heat stroke symptoms.

“Workers in the construction, transportation and forestry sectors comprised the majority of the 27 time-loss claims we had in B.C. last year,” WorkSafeBC’s Regional Prevention Manager, South Okanagan-Kootenay Shawn Mitton said. “It’s important to remember anyone working outside is potentially at risk.”

Symptoms of heat stress include excessive sweating, nausea and dizziness and, if not addressed quickly, additional symptoms such as heat cramps can rapidly develop.

WorkSafeBC is advising employers and workers to drink one glass of water every 20 minutes, wear light-coloured, loose fitting clothing made of breathable fabric, take rest breaks in a cool well ventilated area, allow your body to cool down before restarting your work, do the hardest physical work during the coolest part of the day and recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress.

As appropriate, heat stress assessment are required for WorkSafeBC employers, which includes a heat stress mitigation plan, personal protective equipment, education and training in recognizing symptoms of heat stress and heat stroke, and participating in monitoring conditions and checking co-workers for symptoms.

WorkSafeBC employers and workers can contact the WorkSafeBC Prevention Line with any questions or concerns at 1-888-621-7233.