Caution urged for those working outdoors in hot weather

By EverythingGP (Sheena Roszell)
May 24, 2018 - 7:13am

With a heatwave hitting much of the province this week, employers and workers are reminded to take special precautions when working outside as hot weather can be a workplace hazard.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are required to take all reasonable steps to make sure their employees are protected in the hot weather.

Lauren Welsh with Alberta Labour says there are some things employers can do when giving everyone the day off is not an option.

"Provide plenty of cool drinking water, have a cooling station where workers can rest in the shade, reduce physical activity, give extra breaks, and allow workers to get acclimatized. That means gradually increasing the amount of work they do outdoors so their body get can used to the hot weather," she said.

Anyone who is working outside should watch for signs of heat stress, which can develop into heat stroke.

Symptoms include a headache, dizziness, fatigue, heavy sweating, dehydration, muscle cramps, changes to breathing and pulse rate.

"Those symptoms should be addressed right away because heat stress can progress to heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention," said Welsh.  "And certainly that's something that we want to avoid.  We want to make sure employers and workers are taking proper precautions so that they're not ending up in a situation where they are dealing with heat stroke."

The first steps to treat heat stress are drinking cool water and getting out of the direct sun.

Employees can call Occupational Health and Safety at 1-866-415-8690 if they feel their workplace is unsafe due to the hot weather.

Seven temperature records were set across Alberta Wednesday. Red Deer reached 27.2 degrees Celcius, shy of the record of 31.7°C set in 1941.

Red Deer's forecast calls for highs between 25-28°C from Thursday to Monday.

Alberta law requiring fuel pre-pay takes effect June 1

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