February 18th, 2019

Province reminds workers, employers to keep it safe and cool throughout heat wave

By Gillian Slade on August 10, 2018.

Medicine Hat News

With some of the highest summer temperatures in the weather forecast, the provincial government is reminding, employers and workers of the need to take precautions when working in the heat.

Heat stress can quickly escalate to heatstroke, which is a life threatening health condition. It is important to recognize the warning signs and take action early.

“Albertans working outside, or indoors where there is no air conditioning, should take precautions against the heat,” said Labour Minister Christina Gray. “Employers also have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment and should be familiar with prevention strategies. Together, we can make sure everyone makes it home safe.”

Precautionary measures include drinking plenty of cool water to combat dehydration, and staying out of direct sun.

Symptoms you should be watching for are headache, dizziness, fatigue, heavy sweating, muscle cramps and changes to breathing and pulse rate. These symptoms can progress to heatstroke and the need for immediate medical attention.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to take all reasonable steps to protect the health, safety and welfare of their workers. Suggestions for employers include providing cool drinking water, a cooling station where workers can rest, and reduced physical activity through extra breaks. Acclimatize workers by gradually increasing outdoor work, perhaps direct work to a cooler, shaded area, or schedule physically demanding jobs for cooler times of the day.

Poor air quality due to wildfire smoke may require are precautionary measures such as moving to where smoke levels are lower and consideration to rescheduling work until air quality conditions improve. Reduced physical activity may be necessary to reduce the inhalation of pollutants.

Workers can call Occupational Health and Safety at 1-866-415-8690 if they feel their workplace is unhealthy or unsafe due to hot weather or smoky conditions.

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