Heat Stress


Heat stress occurs when there's excess exposure to conditions of high temperature, high humidity, excess physical activity and the body is unable to adjust to these conditions and is unable to cool itself.
Heat stress and heat related illnesses may occur both indoors and outdoors. So common indoor conditions include large furnaces such as in smelters, steel plants, in bakeries; any other places where there are hot processes.

So this can range from large workplaces to smaller workplaces. For example dry-cleaning shops, neighborhood dry-cleaning shops where the processes and equipment create a large amount of heat in the workplace.

Other common workplaces for heat related illnesses include outdoor types of work. So municipal workers, people working at golf courses, summer camps, amusement parks; when they are outdoors during the hottest parts of the day such as between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. with constant heat exposure, there's a risk of heat related illness. Very important to take breaks in cool shaded areas, take extra breaks when necessary, wear a hat, keep the skin covered.

It's very important to drink plenty of fluids during the summer and when exposed to hot conditions to avoid dehydration. We often don't realize how much we have to drink to keep up with our fluids so I always encourage people to drink to the conditions, not drink to the thirst. They should always be drinking…when they're working in hot weather, working in heat stress conditions, at least a cup of water every 20 minutes. People become dehydrated very fast, they may not be aware of it and it's important to drink to the conditions and ensure that they don't become dehydrated.

Even people that are acclimatized to the heat, they still work in heat conditions, to avoid any heat related illnesses it's very important that everyone drink plenty of fluids.
Heat related illness is a significant cause of workplace related illness and death. Every heat related illness is preventable and employers must take all measures necessary to prevent heat related illnesses in the workplace.

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Dr. Leon Genesove, Provincial Physician & Team Lead, Healthcare, OHSB,
Ontario Ministry of Labour

Protect Yourself
Drink Water
Wear Light, Loose Clothing
Schedule Frequent Breaks
Use Sunscreen
Cover Your Head Outdoors
Schedule Work for a Cooler Part of the Day