As the temperatures increase, so do summer-related workplace hazards. Canadian employees, both those who work indoors and out, should be aware of seasonal risks.
Employers should take steps to help protect their employees from illness or injury on the job. When workers suffer a work-related illness or injury this summer, they should explore their workers’ compensation options.
Excessive heat can impact a wide range of workers
Heat-related illnesses – including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat syncope – pose a serious risk to a wide range of workers. Those who work outdoors, such as construction workers and road maintenance crews, are at particular risk for heat-related problems when the sun is inescapable. However, indoor workers, such as bakers and warehouse workers, can also be felled by excessive temperatures.
It’s important to take frequent breaks from work when it’s hot. Employers should provide shaded rest areas or air-conditioned areas for workers. Constant hydration is also important.
Outdoor workers can face additional risks
While all workers are subject to the dangers posed by hot temperatures, outdoor workers are also at the mercy of other risks posed by Mother Nature, including:
- Increased risk of skin cancers from prolonged exposure to the sun
- Lightning strikes
- Mosquito and other wildlife-borne diseases
Proper clothing and safety gear can help protect workers from nature’s hazards. However, this same gear can also pose problems if it causes workers to overheat. Once again, frequent cooling-off periods and hydration are essential to avoiding workplace injuries and illnesses.
Stay safe and know your rights
Even the most cautious worker can suffer a job-related injury. If you’re injured on the job, you may have the right to compensation under the law. It can be worth discussing your options with a skilled professional experienced in workers’ compensation law.