Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 37

STAFF & MANAGEMENT

Preventing and Managing

Heat Stress
By Monica A. Szabo, Executive Director,
Government, Municipal and Public Safety - Public Services Health & Safety Association

N

ow that summer
is upon us, overexposure to heat
can stress the body's
cooling system, especially when combined with physical
labour, loss of fluids, fatigue or medical
conditions. Some of the symptoms can
include cramps and fainting, or even serious heat exhaustion and heat stroke. This
can happen to anybody - even the young
and fit. In Ontario, heat stress is usually a concern during the summer. This
is especially true early in the summer,
when people are not used to the heat.
Heat exposure may occur in many
workplaces and is a specific hazard for
any worker whose workplace is also outdoors where direct sunlight is the main
source of heat. Humidity in workplaces
also contributes to heat stress. Our article
explores employer duties, ways to manage heat stress and some of the control
measures that can be practiced to protect
recreation staff in working environments
where heat and humidity impact their
work environment.

The Law
Employers have a duty under Section
25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and
Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the
protection of a worker. This includes
developing policies and procedures to
protect workers in hot environments due
to hot processes or hot weather.
For compliance purposes, the Ministry
of Labour recommends the current
threshold limit value (TLV) for heat

stress and heat strain, published by the
American Conference of Governmental
Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). These values are based on preventing unacclimatized workers' core temperatures from
rising above 38°C. See Ministry of Labour
web document, "Heat stress health and
safety guideline" for details.

Managing Heat Stress
No system can address all situations
especially when your work environment
is outside of your workplace and in the
control of others. Some workplaces begin
with rigorous systems of measurement
and prescribed reactions, but once in heat
stress season, workers and supervisors
eventually learn to anticipate when heat
stress controls "kick in." In such situations,
the system becomes less formal. Selfassessment and using the buddy system
to identify symptoms can often be successful less formal ways to address heat stress.
A coroner's inquest into a college
student's death noted that prescribed
responses to the measurements alone
will not protect every worker. Workers
must also learn to listen to what their
bodies are telling them and know how
to respond appropriately. This is even
more important when your work environment changes regularly or when working
alone or in small groups. The heat stress
response plan must be flexible enough
to protect the most vulnerable workers.
Before establishing a policy, you
must determine:
1. One or more monitoring methods or
criteria (e.g., self-regulation, Humidex,
WBGT measurements).

2. A sampling strategy (e.g., location,
frequency, time, trigger to start
monitoring).
3. Responses (e.g., rests, rotation, air
conditioning, voluntary staying on the
job, shut down).
4. Training (when, how often, content, length, Joint Health and Safety
Committee involvement, supervisors,
workers, first aid).
5. Water-supply coordination (ensuring
workers have sufficient quantities of
water available).
6. First-aid reporting, emergency
response, medical monitoring,
confidentiality.
In workplaces with Joint Health and
Safety Committees (JHSC) or Health and
Safety representatives, it is important to
get them involved and incorporate their
ideas into the plan.

Control Measures
1. General Control Measures
Develop, communicate and implement the heat stress plan for all workers. Train workers to recognize the
signs and symptoms of heat stress
and to know how to avoid them.
Provide water nearby on the job
site or directly to staff and ensure
everyone drinks about one cup of
water every 20 to 30 minutes, even
if they're not thirsty. Establish a firstaid response system with trained
first-aid providers and a means to
record and report heat stress incidents. Allow time for workers to
acclimatize to the heat and the work.
This usually takes about two weeks.
Measure Humidex (or WBGT) levels
FACILITY FORUM | 37



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Facility Forum - Summer 2017

Risk Management Guidelines for Water Recreational Equipment Areas
Water Use in Turfgrasses
Cemeterian Operations and Management Training– Cape Town, South Africa
The Benefits and Challenges of Daylighting Recreation Facilities
Effective Human Resources Management
Energy Champion – Time to Plan
Rules for Flying the National Flag of Canada
Preparing for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
Health & Safety (PSHSA) – Preventing and Managing Heat Stress
Member Profile – Jim Bryson, City of Stratford
Index of Advertisers
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Intro
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - cover1
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - cover2
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 3
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 4
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 5
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 6
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 7
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Risk Management Guidelines for Water Recreational Equipment Areas
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 9
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 10
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 11
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 12
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Water Use in Turfgrasses
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 14
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 15
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Cemeterian Operations and Management Training– Cape Town, South Africa
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 17
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 18
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - The Benefits and Challenges of Daylighting Recreation Facilities
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 20
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 21
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Effective Human Resources Management
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 23
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 24
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Energy Champion – Time to Plan
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 26
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 27
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 28
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Rules for Flying the National Flag of Canada
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 30
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 31
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Preparing for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 33
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 34
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 35
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 36
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Health & Safety (PSHSA) – Preventing and Managing Heat Stress
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 38
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 39
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 40
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Member Profile – Jim Bryson, City of Stratford
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 42
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 43
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 44
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - 46
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - cover3
Facility Forum - Summer 2017 - cover4
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