August 18, 2016 - 4:30 PM
OKANAGAN – WorkSafeBC is alerting employers and workers of a greater danger of heat stroke over the next week.
Temperatures across the Okanagan are forecast to be among the highest of the summer and high enough to cause injuries.
“The majority of workers suffering heat stress related symptoms in 2015 were in the construction sector, followed closely by primary resources and manufacturing workers. But we need to remember – all outside workers are potentially at risk,” Patrick Davie with WorkSafeBC says in a media release.
Last year, 24 workers in B.C. lost days at work because of heat stress related injuries, he says.
“This is an increase from the historical average of 19 heat stress injuries annually. Heat stress occurs when your internal temperature increases faster than the body can cool itself. Symptoms include excess sweating, dizziness and nausea. If not addressed quickly, additional symptoms such as heat cramps, or potentially lethal heat stroke can rapidly develop.”
To prevent heat stress 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, do the hardest physical work during the coolest parts of the day and know your personal risk factors like medications, skin disorders, sleep deprivation, poor physical fitness, pre-existing medical conditions, according to the release.
WorkSafeBC requires employers to conduct heat stress assessments.
As appropriate, employers must have a heat stress mitigation plan which provides education and training in recognizing the symptoms of heat stress and heat stroke. Workers are required to participate in monitoring conditions, and checking co-workers for symptoms, the release says.
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