Avoiding Heat Stress When Working in Extreme Temperatures

Xanthia Coates Safety Leadership, Safety Talks, Safety Training, Workplace Safety and Health

Extreme heat is predicted in the next few days, and will likely occur throughout the summer.

In 2021 Canada was hit with one of the most devastating heat waves on record. One of the provinces hit the hardest was B.C. with nearly 600 deaths resulting from extreme temperatures between June 18th – August 12th, 2021. High temperatures combined with humidity can be deadly.
Do you know the warning signs? Do you have Safe Work Procedures implemented?
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In Canada, “extreme heat” defines a period of time in which temperatures reach or exceed 30°C for more than 3 days in a row.
As Canadian’s I think we can all agree that during the summer months, that seems like a pretty standard occurrence.
However, in these conditions, heat stroke can come on quickly if proper preventative measures are not taken.
This can cause body temperatures to rise higher than 41°C, leading to serious & sometimes life-threatening side effects.

A few of the warning signs to have your supervisors & workers look out for are:
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness or coma

If not treated quickly, heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke and a life-threatening situation.
The deadly sign is hot, dry skin that is no longer sweating. This requires immediate emergency intervention to cool the person by any means possible.

A few things to consider when beginning a new project to ensure your workers don’t become victim of a heat-induced emergency:
  • Review the types and locations of upcoming jobs. Which will have heat risks?
  • Is there a Work Procedure in place for Working in Extreme Temperatures? When is the last time it was reviewed and updated?
  • Do you have threshold temperatures and a plan for work/rest cycles established?
Does your Working Alone Plan consider heat emergencies?

Illness from extreme heat CAN be avoided. If any of your workers are required to be outside for prolonged periods of time, performing strenuous labor, as the employer, it is your duty to encourage regular cool-off breaks, increased water intake to prevent dehydration,
and use of proper PPE such as hats & UVA /UVB blocking sunglasses – just to name a few.

Click the link below for a free Heat Safety – Safety Pack containing tools & resources such as Safe Work Procedures & helpful Safety Talks
to use with your team while discussing the importance of heat safety.

Are you wondering whether your current Heat Safety Plan or Work Procedures are robust?

At the end of the day, helping you keep your workers safe is our #1 priority. If you have questions, we have answers, and would be happy to help.

Book a free consult today to speak with one of our skilled Senior Safety Professionals!