WorkSafeBC is reminding North Coast employers to keep their workers safe as temperatures rise. A heat warning issued yesterday by Environment Canada warns that temperatures will reach up to 30 degrees Celsius today through Thursday — 15 degrees higher than the seasonal average. With increased temperatures come higher risks of heat-related illnesses, including sun stroke and heat stress, the latter potentially affecting both indoor and outdoor workers.
Suzana Prpic, Senior Manager of Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC, emphasizes the importance of employers taking measures to protect their workforce. “Working in hot-weather conditions can lead to serious injuries if you’re not prepared,” she warns.
In 2022, WorkSafeBC accepted 81 claims related to heat injuries, 28 percent of which were from indoor workers.
“Heat stress can have severe consequences, ranging from serious injuries to even death, regardless of whether one is working on a farm, construction site, or indoors in a restaurant, kitchen, or factory — but it is preventable,” says Prpic.
WorkSafeBC provides the following safety tips for working in hot weather:
- Consult with workers to identify hazards related to heat and sun exposure and determine how to eliminate or reduce the risks. Encourage workers to report any concerns.
- Schedule physically demanding tasks during cooler parts of the day, before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m.
- Monitor heat conditions and ensure workers are not working alone.
- Establish appropriate work-rest cycles to prevent heat stress.
- Rotate work activities or increase the number of workers to reduce exposure and allow for breaks from direct heat until workers cool down.
- Provide cooling areas that offer shade and water for workers.
Please refer to healthlinkbc.ca for more information and refer to your local weather provider for updates on temperatures.
Many municipalities also offer cooling facilities. Contact your local municipality or check out Emergency Info BC for the latest updates.
- OHS Guideline G7.29-1, Heat stress assessment
- Our Heat stress webpage
- Our publication Preventing Heat Stress at Work
WorkSafeBC engages workers and employers to prevent injury, disease, and disability in B.C. When work-related injuries or diseases occur, WorkSafeBC provides compensation and support to people in their recovery, rehabilitation, and safe return to work. We serve approximately 2.6 million workers and 270,000 employers across B.C