Summer is here on PEI which means higher temperatures and humidex, potential UV index warnings and an increased risk of developing heat-related illness. The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) reminds both workers and employers to stay safe when working in the heat.
“Working in a hot environment – indoors or outdoors – affects the ability of the body to regulate its temperature,” said Danny Miller, the WCB’s Director of Occupational Health and Safety. “High temperatures can leave workers at risk of developing heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Employers must take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of workers which includes planning to reduce the risk of heat stress.”
Here are signs and symptoms to watch for when it comes to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
This condition can lead to heat stroke, which can lead to death. Move the worker to a cool shaded area, loosen or remove excess clothing, provide cool water to drink, fan and spray with cool water.
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid and weak pulse
- Cool, pale, clammy skin
- Muscle cramps
It is particularly important to watch for the signs of heat stroke. The worker should be removed from the hot environment and made to rest in a cool location with rapidly circulating air and kept under constant observation. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911. Taking immediate action may save the person’s life.
- Throbbing headache
- No sweating
- Rapid and strong pilse
- Red, hot, dry skin
- May lose consciousness
If you’re working in the heat, indoors or outdoors, follow these safety tips to help prevent heat-related illness:
- Do demanding physical work before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m.
- Limit sun exposure, especially with the UV factor is high.
- Use sunscreen and lip balm with a minimum 30 sun protection factor (SPF).
- Drink plenty of water before you feel thirsty.
- Take regular rest breaks in the shade or an air-conditioned space when possible.
- Cover up with light coloured, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat and UV protective eyewear.
- Watch for signs and symptoms of heat related-illness in yourself and your co-workers.
For additional information, consult the following WCB resources:
- Heat Stress Prevention Guide – NEW
- Heat Stress Poster – NEW
- Heat Stress Prevention Update (June 2022)
- Sun Exposure Prevention Update (June 2022)
The Workers Compensation Board partners with employers and workers in building safe and healthy workplaces and support recovery, if an injury occurs, through the administration of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Urgent workplace health and safety matters can be reported anytime by calling our 24/7 emergency line at 902-628-7513.
902-894-0362 or email@example.com