Now that summer has arrived, and the weather is starting to get warmer in Ontario, it’s time to start thinking about heat stress in the workplace. The health and safety of employees at work is everyone’s responsibility, managers and temporary employees alike. However, it should be especially important to managers/supervisors, and business owners.
At Liberty Staffing Services, we provide staffing solutions to warehouse, manufacturing, and office sectors throughout Ontario. The temperature in these work facilities can become warm, especially during summer months.
The health and safety of yourself and your employees should be your number one priority. We would like to provide our clients with some information regarding heat stress, workplace safety tips, and what you can do to help prevent workplace injuries.
What is Heat Stress?
Heat stress is caused when working under hot, humid conditions, combined with physical labour, loss of fluids, fatigue, stress, or a pre-existing medical condition. Heat stress can happen to anybody, regardless of fitness level or age.
Signs and Symptoms
- Various heat related conditions include: heat stroke, heat rash, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and fainting
- Heat stroke: high body temperature, hot/red skin, rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, high level of confusion, and strange behaviour
- Heat rash: red, bumpy rash on the skin
- Heat exhaustion: heavy breathing, strong thirst, nausea, high body temperature, tired/weak limbs, and blurred vision
- Fainting: weak pulse and clammy skin
What to Do
- Educate all employees on how to recognize signs of heat related conditions
- Keep a close watch on your employees
- Schedule hot jobs for cooler times of the day
- Schedule frequent water breaks in a shaded, air conditioned area
- Provide fans, sunscreen, and cool drinking water to employees
- Assign extra employees or slow down the work pace
- Establish a buddy system
- Advise your employees to wear lightweight clothing
- If employees are working outdoors, advise workers to wear light coloured clothing, a hat, and sunscreen
- Call emergency services immediately if any of your employees show signs of heat stress
Heat stress in the workplace should be taken very seriously. If you have any further questions about heat stress, contact Liberty Staffing.