WorkSafeBC urges safety as temperatures set to hit 30°C on Vancouver Island

WorkSafeBC urges safety as temperatures set to hit 30°C on Vancouver Island

WorkSafeBC is encouraging workers and employers to make sure they’re safe as a heat wave is expected to sweep the province this week.

Temperatures are set to hit upwards of 30°C in parts of Vancouver Island, this weekend, most notably in the Mid-Island.

In Nanaimo, temperatures are expected to reach 32°C on Friday, before hanging around the 30°C mark on Saturday and Sunday.

In the Greater Victoria area, temperatures are expected to hit 27°C on Saturday before climbing to 29°C on Sunday and Monday, according to Environment Canada’s forecast Thursday.

Port Alberni is expected to be particularly warm, reaching temperatures of 32°C on Friday before inching up to 33°C on Saturday and 34°C on Sunday.

Meanwhile, some areas of the mainland will see temperatures soar to the high 30s this week.

“The heat will start on Vancouver Island and move east across the province,” said WorkSafeBC in a release Thursday.

READ MORE: Sunny, hot weather forecast for Vancouver Island for ‘foreseeable future’: meteorologist

Safety concerns

With temperatures expected to rise, WorkSafeBC is urging both employers and workers to take measures to keep themselves safe.

People working outdoors are subject to extreme heat, as well as UV exposure – with outdoor workers being up to 3.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer, according to WorkSafe.

Meanwhile, indoors workers aren’t immune to the heat either. People who work in restaurants, kitchens and factories in particular should monitor for heat stress.

“Elevated temperatures significantly raise the risk of heat stress and heat stroke, both of which can be severe and even life-threatening,” said Suzana Prpic, director of prevention field services at WorkSafeBC. “However, heat-related illnesses are entirely preventable.”

Tips for workers

WorkSafeBC says workers should make sure they’re drinking plenty of water – as much as one glass every 20 minutes – and wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing amid high heat.

People should also wear sunscreen and reapply it throughout the day and take breaks in cool areas.

If possible, perform physical work only during the cooler parts of the day, before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m., and make sure you know your own personal risk factors – like medications or medical conditions – that may be impacted by heat.

Workers should also monitor themselves for signs of heat stress and heat stroke, and keep an eye out on co-workers.

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Tips for employers

Meanwhile, employers should make sure they have assessed working conditions and have a safety plan laid out for workers that is reissued at the start of each day.

Employers should also make sure there are cooling areas set up and that water is available.

Keep an eye out on workers who may be impacted by the heat, and make sure there are chances for people to rest. Companies can also consider bringing on extra workers or rotating work activities to make sure no one single person gets too hot.

Employers should also make sure there’s first-aid coverage and emergency procedures in place during a heat spell.

“It is the responsibility of employers to take proactive measures to protect their workers, whether they are indoors or outdoors,” said Prpic.

Last year, WorkSafeBC says it accepted 49 heat stress-related injury claims.

SEE ALSO: Recall issued for three brands of heat pumps sold in Canada, U.S.

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