July 27th 2022

Working safely in hot conditions - Heat illness prevention 

Further to our summer safety tips of July – this month we are focusing on another summer hazard!! We all enjoy the heat, especially if we are able to sit at the beach under an umbrella… but what if you have to perform your work duties and its hot outside?

It seems that excessive heat is becoming prevalent everywhere in the world right now, and despite the fact we work in a relatively cooler climate, temperatures still rise at this time of the year… what are some of the things we can do to help manage this?

As air temperatures rise, our bodies don’t have gauges like the ones we check to make sure a machine isn’t overheating.

Working in hot conditions means we must know how to prevent heat illness, recognize signs of heat illness, and know how to respond should someone experience a heat illness. Prevention is key!

• Whether you are thirsty or not, drink water every 15 minutes. Signs of thirst are a sign that your body is already dehydrated.

• Wear light-colored clothing (dark colors soak up heat from the sun).

• Take rests in the shade if you are outside for prolonged periods

• Watch out for each other and look for signs of heat illness. Signs of heat illness are essential to know.

• Heat exhaustion symptoms are dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, fast heartbeat, nausea/vomiting, weakness and cramps.

• Heat stroke signs include red, hot, dry skin; high temperature; confusion; fainting; and convulsions.

If someone has heat exhaustion, follow these 4 steps:

1. Move them to a cool place.

2. Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.

3. Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.

4. Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them.

By Darla Henderson
Health and Safety Supervisor