What will we do today to prevent an incident?
Extreme summer temperatures can cause reactions ranging from discomfort to serious illness in most people. For workers who are exposed to the heat over the course of a work day, taking safety measures is an important part of staying healthy and comfortable.
What's the hazard?
High daytime temperatures can make it challenging to work outdoors or in buildings without air conditioning. Heat on the job can cause dizziness and discomfort, which can lead to incidents.
More serious situations can lead to heat stress, a condition in which the body is unable to control its internal temperature, and can result in heat illness, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
What can happen?
Cody, a Grip, worked at an exterior location for three straight hours in extremely hot weather. They began to experience nausea and grew very tired. When the Key Grip noticed Cody was working at a slower pace than usual, he ordered them to take a break to sit in the shade and have a drink of water.
Based on the scenario above, here are some questions that could be used to spark discussion:
- Are you aware of the different actions you can take to be prepared to work in the heat?
- Are you aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stress?
What precautions can you take to prevent injuries?
To help protect yourself from hot conditions and prevent heat stress, the following is recommended during periods of peak temperature:
- Wear clothing that is lightweight, light-coloured and loose-fitting.
- Use fans indoors.
- Take rest breaks in shaded areas and drink cool beverages.
- Focus on lighter activities whenever possible and leave physically demanding tasks for cooler periods.
- Plan the day to tackle more strenuous jobs during the cooler morning hours.
- Watch less experienced crew for signs of heat illness, because it takes about one week for the body to adjust to the heat.
Some additional SAFE Work Manitoba resources on working in hot weather include the Guideline for Thermal Stress and Tip Card: Outdoor Heat Stress.
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