With temperatures set to hit the high 20s this week, the Government of Alberta is offering safety precautions to help protect Albertans from health risks when working outdoors. Extreme temperatures are a potential workplace hazard, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of their workers. “As the hottest days of summer approach, so do the dangers of working outside. Knowing how to work safely in hot weather can prevent heat-related injuries,” said Christina Gray, Minister of Labour, in a news release last week. “Employers must take steps to protect the health of their workers and save lives.” Both employers and workers should be aware of the early signs of heat stress and treat it right away. These signs include headache, dizziness and fatigue, dehydration, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, and changes to breathing and pulse rate. Left unchecked, the symptoms can progress to heat stroke. The government recommends that employers keep workers safe by: reducing physical activity, changing the work location to a cooler, shaded area and creating a cooling station where workers can rest using a work/rest schedule with extra breaks if needed allowing workers to acclimatize by gradually increasing the time they spend working outdoors scheduling physically demanding jobs for cooler times of the day Employees have the right to refuse work if they feel it is unsafe. Albertans can call Occupational Health and Safety at 1-866-415-8690 if they feel their workplace is unsafe due to the hot weather. PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The Morinville News will be closed for company summer shut down from July 31 to Aug.

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