Safety AuditsSummer in Ontario means we’ve stopped complaining about the cold and we’re now complaining about high temperatures and humidity. All kidding aside, there are serious hazards for outdoor workers that employers and those who spend their days in the summer sun should consider. Be aware, educate, and communicate about these seasonal risks and your workplace can remain incident-free for the months to come.

Heat Stress

People who work outside exert themselves far more than the average worker and, as a result, have higher summer month health risks. Heat stress occurs when someone is working hard in the hot summer sun, and his/her body temperature remains high. If left untreated, heat stress can progress into hyperthermia, requiring emergency care.

Heat Stress Symptoms

Watch out for these warning signs:

  •  Excessive sweating
  •  Headache
  •  Cramping
  •  Sunburn
  •  Rashes
  •  Dizziness
  •  Fainting
  •  Heat Exhaustion

Heat Stress Prevention

Employers can protect their workers by monitoring weather conditions (humidex and temperature) and scheduling work during cooler times of the day. We also need to inform employees how to protect themselves from heat-related conditions:

  •  Wear appropriate, light-coloured clothing
  •  Stay hydrated
  •  Take frequent breaks
  •  Avoid dehydrating beverages and foods (caffeine, alcohol, high protein)
  •  Use ‘engineering controls’ (e.g. fans)

Another concern is sunburn, which can cause absenteeism and unhappy team members. Educate your staff to apply sunscreen right before sun exposure and reapply throughout the day. Watching for heat stress warning signs, and burning exposed skin, can help prevent workplace injury.

Insect Bites

Mosquitoes are an annoyance, but many are concerned about West Nile Virus (WNv). The Zika virus has yet to be transmitted in Canada through insects, but precautions can be taken to protect our families and friends:

  •  Wear mosquito repellant
  •  Remove nearby standing water
  •  Agitate or circulate water with a pump (e.g. ponds, bird baths)
  •  Create drainage where water collects
  •  Wear light-coloured clothing

TRH Group Health and Safety Consultants can advise you on how best to protect yourself and your employees. We have plans available to address summer safety issues and are pleased to share them, so you can have a healthy and happy crew this season. Please call us at 1-800-806-844 to receive professional recommendations for your job site.