How to stay cool at work during southern Interior heat wave | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How to stay cool at work during southern Interior heat wave

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/WorkSafeBC

With a heat wave forecast for most of southern BC, WorkSafeBC are reminding employers to maintain a cool and healthy environments for employees.

Temperatures are rising this week as a heat wave settles in. Temperatures are expected to reach 40 Celsius in Kamloops on Monday with the Okanagan temperatures forecast in the high 30s.

“Elevated temperatures significantly raise the risk of heat stress and heat stroke, both of which can be severe and even life-threatening,” Suzana Prpic with WorkSafeBC said in a media release issued today, July 4.

Heat and UV exposure can cause serious threats to workers, especially those who work outdoors in the sun. UV exposure is an additional risk for outdoor workers as they are are 3.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer, WorkSafeBC said.

The agency has a list of advice for employers to follow including ensuring employees are engaging in a workplace discussion about heat related hazards at the beginning of each day of work, creating areas with shade and water, and rotating work activities that are high risk so employees can take breaks from exposure.

A risk assessment for employers has been mandated by WorkSafeBC for each individual workspace to create a plan for a safe work place.

Workers are advised to drink a glass of water every 20 minutes, take frequent rests in a cool and ventilated area, wear loose clothes and to check in for signs of heat stress on yourself and others. In 2023 nearly 50 claims were accepted by WorkSafeBC due to heat stress injuries.

“Heat-related illnesses are entirely preventable. It is the responsibility of employers to take proactive measures to protect their workers, whether they are indoors or outdoors,” Prpic said.

Go here for the latest WorkSafeBC tools and resources on heat stress for workers and employer.

There's also a booklet on preventing heat stress at work here.

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