WorkSafeBC recommends outdoor workers drink water every 20 minutes, wear light-coloured, loose fitting clothing made of breathable fabric and do the hardest physical work during the coolest part of the day, before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m.
It also recommends knowing personal risk factors such as pre-existing conditions and medications and to check for symptoms and signs of heat stress individually as well as for co-workers.
Employers are encouraged to monitor heat conditions, require workers to not work alone and ensure adequate First-Aid coverage and emergency procedures are in place.
WorkSafeBC also urges employers to establish proper work-rest cycles, rotate work activity and/or use additional workers to reduce exposure. Physical modifications to facilities, equipment and processes to reduce exposure is also recommended along with cooling areas with shade and making water is available.
“Outdoor workers face many risks when the weather is hot. By law, employers are required to know if their workers are at risk by performing a heat-stress assessment and implementing a mitigation plan, when necessary,” WorkSafeBC prevention field services director Dan Strand said in a statement.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excess sweating, dizziness, fainting and muscle cramps. Those of heat stroke include cessation of sweating, an increased breathing rate, confusion, seizures and possible cardiac arrest.
WorkSafeBC has documentation about heat stress at WorkSafeBC.com and features a video called Sun Safety at Work on their Youtube channel.