August 4th, 2017

Working in Extreme Heat

This summer in Alberta can be described with one word – hot. In July there seems to be a heat warning every other day and a day below 25 degrees is rare.

Patios are packed, local swimming pools are full and Albertan’s are taking advantage of the sun.

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But for people who work outside, extra precautions need to be taken.

According to Metro News, Alberta does not have any ‘hard and fast regulations about how hot is too hot for work.’

In the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Code in Alberta there are no specific requirements related to working in the heat or cold. The Act requires employers to ensure the health and safety of workers and the Code requires employers to ‘assess and control hazards workers may be exposed to at the work site.’

OHS in Alberta recommends being aware of the signs of heat stress and stroke so it can be treated right away.

Being a union member means that you have people looking out for you in the workplace, ensuring that you are not forced to work in unsafe working conditions such as extreme heat. If you are ever feeling as though a workplace is unsafe, you can notify a shop steward or a business agent.

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Early warning signs of heat stress and stroke

  • headache
  • confusion
  • dizziness and fatigue
  • dehydration
  • heavy sweating
  • muscle cramps
  • changes to breathing and pulse rate

How to avoid overheating

  • drink lots of water
  • take breaks
  • wear protective equipment designed to reduce heat stress
  • minimize physical activity in hot environments
  • know the signs of heat stress

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