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Heat Stress

With the colder weather in our rearview mirror, we are patiently waiting for the arrival of the days of sunshine and heat. Now is the time to consult our heat stress policies and programs to make sure we are ready for the heat to arrive.

One item that we see missed or overlooked frequently in many heat stress programs is acclimatization. Heat acclimatization is the process of improving heat tolerance that comes from gradually increasing the intensity and duration of work performed in a hot setting. This process is an important component of any heat stress prevention program.

An effective heat stress program accounts for the need for additional breaks, a cool and shaded place to

rest, access to fluids, and the ability to have time to adjust to the heat. This time must be flexible given the intensity of the heat, level of humidity, the worker’s physical fitness, and their experience on the job.

In Canada, we are fortunate to have the four seasons which allows us to acclimatize with the changing

seasons. However, this informal acclimatization process is likely not enough to acclimatize your workers to the heat. This is especially true for new and young workers.

New and young workers’ exposure to heat should be on an incremental level and should increase slowly.

The best results in an acclimatization process takes place by gradually exposing the worker to hot

conditions over a period of one to two weeks. This will allow the body to effectively sweat which helps to

cool the body and regulate temperature.

In addition to the gradual exposure to heat, workers should also eat regular healthy meals, drink lots of

water, and take breaks as needed.

Have questions about acclimatization or need guidance on how to implement an effective heat stress

program? Reach out to our professional staff and we will be happy to guide you!

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