KAMLOOPS - WorkSafeBC is warning employers and outdoor workers about upcoming high temperatures in the city this week.
WorkSafeBC says outdoor workers are at risk of developing heat stress this summer, and if it's left untreated, it can lead to injuries from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Last year, there were 16 accepted claims in the province for work-related injuries caused by heat exhaustion and heat stroke, according to a WorkSafeBC media release. The jobs with the highest numbers of those related claims included truck and bus drivers, lifeguards, recreation sport and fitness leaders, and motion-picture production assistants.
In the Thompson-Nicola region, there were 13 accepted claims for heat stress-related injuries between 2007 and 2016.
Patrick Davie, WorkSafeBC prevention field services regional manager in Kamloops, says employers need to be aware of these risks.
“Workers performing outdoor jobs across many industries face the risks associated with hot weather,” Davie says in the release. “Employers are required by law to know if their workers are at risk by performing a heat-stress assessment and implementing a mitigation plan, when necessary.”
WorkSafeBC says heat stress occurs when your body's internal temperature rises faster than the body can cool itself. Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include excess sweating, dizziness, fainting and muscle cramps.
Symptoms of heat stroke can include the stopping of sweating, an increased breathing rate, confusion, seizures and cardiac arrest.
Employers can help mitigate risks to their workers by monitoring heat conditions, requiring workers not to work alone, ensure there is adequate first-aid coverage and emergency procedures, change work practices and policies, determine appropriate work-rest cycles, rotate work activities or use additional workers to reduce exposure and establish cooling areas with shade and water, WorkSafeBC says.
Workers are encouraged to drink plenty of water, wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing, take rest breaks in a cool, well-ventilated area, do the hardest physical work during the coolest parts of the day, know your personal risk factors, and check the signs and symptoms for yourself and your co-workers.
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