How outdoor workers are staying safe in P.E.I.'s hot weather

With another day of warm temperatures across P.E.I., the Workers Compensation Board has issued a warning for employers and employees to watch out for heat stress.

Watch out for heat stress, warns Workers Compensation Board

At Earthform Landscape Professionals, work continues in the hot weather, though with some modifications. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

With another day of high temperatures across P.E.I. Thursday, the Workers Compensation Board has issued a warning for employers and employees to watch out for heat stress. 

For people who work outdoors, seeking shade to stay cool isn't always an option — with work to get done, labour continues for many as the sun beams down.

It's only going to kill production tomorrow if they kill themselves in the sun today.— Boyd Corcoran

"All types of weather — hot, cold, windy, dry, wet. You name it, we're in it," says Greg Ford, construction manager at Earthform Landscape Professionals in Stratford, P.E.I.

Keeping workers safe

But while work continues, Ford said making sure employees are safe is a priority. 

Greg Ford with Earthform Lanscape Professionals says he encourages workers to work at a manageable pace and take breaks. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We realize that the guys are working hard outside, so we cut them a bit of slack. You know, we've still got to make some progress day-to-day with the jobs, but you can't expect the guys to work just as hard as they do when it's 10 degrees as compared to when it's like 40," Ford said.

Ford encourages workers to stay hydrated, wear hats and sunscreen and take breaks when needed. And on hot days, he said the company works strategically.

"We try to get them to do all the heavy stuff in the morning and also work with the sun. So if you can stay in the shade and balance your day with the sun and how the sun moves, just move around your job site with it," Ford said. 

For some, work stops

At Ashe Roofing in Charlottetown, employees were hard at work Thursday but on Wednesday, work was suspended for the day — something the manager said he doesn't hesitate to do if it gets too hot. 

Work is back on at Ashe Roofing in Charlottetown, though labour is sometimes suspended when it is too hot. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"It's only going to kill production tomorrow if they kill themselves in the sun today," said Boyd Corcoran. 

The Workers Compensation Board is asking Islanders to take steps to avoid heat stress including keeping hydrated, limiting sun exposure and taking breaks.

It also recommends that people look out for each other and keep an eye out for weakness, lightheadedness and nausea. 

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With files from Nicole Williams