Heat Stress Toolkit

Heat stress is a serious threat to workers. It occurs when the body is unable to get rid of excess heat, which causes the heart rate and core body temperature to increase, often leading to heat-related illness. The tools in this Heat Stress Toolkit will help you understand the heat conditions in your workplace, assess the risk of heat stress and take action to protect yourself or your workers.

Header image for the OHCOW Heat Stress Toolkit.

Heat stress is a life-threatening, occupational illness with
both short and long-term effects

It affects thousands of workers across Canada every year

New and young workers are 2x as likely to suffer from heat-related illnesses (Institute for Work & Health)

An estimated 220 workers in Canada dies annually from occupational heat stress (UFCW Canada)

An estimated 15% of workers who typically or frequently worked under heat stress experienced kidney disease or acute kidney injury.

Our weather is very unpredictable and with climate change it is only going to get worse. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and to know how to respond should an emergency situation arise.

The following resources have been developed to promote the dangers of working in heat, and to guide you in creation of your own heat stress emergency response plan.

OCCUPATIONAL and ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SEMINAR
Presented by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC)

Understanding and Managing
Heat Stress in the Workplace

Friday, March 22, 2024
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EDT

Photo of OHCOW Hygienist, Andre Gauvin
SPEAKER

ANDRE GAUVIN
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH CLINICS FOR ONTARIO WORKERS (OHCOW)

NEW HEAT STRESS CALCULATOR

Updated for use in both indoor and outdoor situations!

HUMIDEX-BASED HEAT STRESS CALCULATOR

This web-based tool uses temperature and humidity as well as other factors like:

  • location
  • clothing
  • work activities
  • radiant heat, and
  • moisture sources

...to calculate estimated heat stress.

The tool provides three methods of calculation based on the information you have available.

Based on the results, the tool then provides a response plan with control methods to protect workers, which can be downloaded and printed for sharing in the workplace.

Humidex Based Heat Response Plan

This plan provides  a 5-step process to recognize, assess and control heat exposures, and a description of heat-related health effects and response recommendations.

THREE NEW REFERENCE GUIDES

Download these reference guides to learn more about the technical aspects of dealing with heat stress in the workplace.

Awareness Guide
This new guidebook will help ensure that workers, supervisors and employers have a high level of awareness about heat stress and the signs, symptoms and risks.
Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Awareness Guide (2024 Edition)

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Physiological Monitoring Guide
This new guidebook provides an overview of heat stress monitoring methods to help supervisors and employers develop their own prevention systems to help protect workers from heat stress.

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Prevention Tools
This new guidebook brings together everything we know about heat stress and the most effective ways to prevent it from impacting worker health and wellness.
Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Prevention Tool guide.

PROMOTIONAL POSTERS & VIDEOS

Promote awareness of the hazards of working in the heat using these highly visible and informative posters.

VIDEOS

Heat Stress Video: Overview

Recognizing Heat Stress

Tools to Prevent Heat Stress

POSTERS

HEAT STRESS

A Life-threatening Occupational Illness
with Short and Long Term Effects

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Image of the OHCOW Heat Stress poster

HEAT STRESS
CAN BE DEADLY

Do Not Ignore Warning Signs
and Symptoms

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Image of the Heat Stress Can Be Deadly poster from OHCOW.

INFOGRAPHICS

Download and share these infographics to help prevent heat stress in yourself and your co-workers.

RISK FACTORS

A 2-page infographic covering the criteria used in assessing specific jobs for the risk of heat stress.  From rest and light work, to moderate, heavy and very heavy, we cover the metabolic rates associated with each category and provide examples of the types of work that would fall under each category.

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Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Risk Factors infographic

SYMPTOMS

There are many symptoms that can be associated with heat illness and many of these symptoms can also be attributed to other conditions. There are also many conditions that make some workers more susceptible to heat-related issues than others. It is important to know the difference and act accordingly should the need arise.

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Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Symptoms infographic
Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Warning Signs infographic

WARNING SIGNS

There are many warning signs to indicate when your body is getting too hot. Heat illness is serious and gets worse quickly. These warning signs should never be ignored. Learn more about the warning signs and watch for them in yourself and others while working in the heat.

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Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Effects infographic

EFFECTS

The effects of heat illness may seem short term but the truth is heat illness can have both short- and long-term effects on your entire body. And these effects can be serious and life-threatening. What starts out as just a heat rash can lead to heart and brain damage, kidney failure, fertility issues, and a host of other issues in the future. Never take heat stress lightly.

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ACCLIMATIZATION

A 3-page infographic outlining the steps you and your co-workers can take to acclimatize yourself for working in the heat to reduce the risk of heat stress.

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Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Acclimatization infographic

WORKER EMPOWERMENT

Concerned about heat stress at work? Have you ever experienced symptoms like a skin rash, or light-headedness, or nausea or vomit during/after working in the heat. If so, you may need to consider exercising your rights to a healthy and safe working environment and the tips on the infographic can help you get started.

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Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Worker Empowerment infographic

Response Plan

An action plan to protect workers, this four page infographic outlines the steps you should follow to obtain an accurate heat stress reading.  A detailed response plan in included along with some general controls for all workers and specific controls for certain workers.

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Thumbnail image of OHCOW's Heat Stress Response Plan infographic

By 2050 it is expect that...

By 2025 It is expected that extreme heat will cost $5.4 billion in lost productivity (Canadian Climate Institute)

It is expected that heat illness claims in Ontario will increase up to 139% by 2050 (INSPQ)

By 2025 It is expected that extreme heat will reduce manufacturing output by 3.7% (Canadian Journal of Economics)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following additional resources related to heat stress have been developed by OHCOW and our partners:

webinar_heaticon

In the Hot Seat? Protecting Workers from Heat Stress

WEBINAR [08-18-23]• Learn about the occupational risks of heat stroke and other illnesses and how to prevent them.

A snapshot of the OHCOW Heat Stress for Outdoor Workers infographic

Heat Stress – A Serious Hazard for Outdoor Workers

JUNE 2023 • A four page infographic covering the signs and symptoms of heat stress in outdoor workers as well as ideas for action, and tips for prevention when working outdoors.

A collage showing the four pages of the OHCOW Heat Stress in Greenhouses infographic.

Heat Stress – A Year Round Concern in Greenhouses

JUNE 2023 • A four page infographic aimed at temporary and foreign greenhouse workers outlining the dangers of heat stress and its related illnesses.

Feature image for the Understanding, Evaluating and Managing Heat Stress Using OHCOW's Humidex-based Heat Response Plan webinar.

Understanding, Evaluating and Managing Heat Stress Using OHCOW’s Humidex-based Heat Stress Plan

WEBINAR [02-JN-22] • André Gauvin, Occupational Hygienist, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

Featured image for the OHCOW webinar Evaluating Heat Stress in the Mining Industry

Heat Stress Controls and New Research Around Evaluating Heat Stress in the Mining Industry

WEBINAR [02-JN-22] • Keith Birnie, Ventilation Specialist, Workplace Safety North (WSN)
Dr. Sandra Dorman, Full professor/Director, Centre for Research in Occupational Safety & Health (CROSH)
André Gauvin, Occupational Hygienist,Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

Feature image for the Working INDOORS in Hot / Humid Conditions poster from OHCOW.

Working INDOORS in Hot / Humid Conditions

POSTER • 2022 – A poster outlining the risks of working in hot / humid environments including recommendations for actions to prevent injury / illness.

Feature image for the Heat Stress Awareness Guide from OHCOW.

Heat Stress Awareness Guide

REFERENCE GUIDE • Information and advice on managing and controlling heat stress in the workplace.

Feature image for the Heat Stress Awareness Wheel Tool from OHCOW.

Heat Stress Awareness Wheel Tool

TOOL • This cardboard wheel tool helps with calculation of humidex and provides tips for outdoor workers appropriate to the humidex level.

From Our Partners, et al.

The following list of third party resources is provided for your additional reference:

Workplace Safety North (WSN)
Heat Stress Resources
Mine Rescue Heat Stress Report

Workplace Safety and Prevention Services
Heat Stress Resources

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Heat Stress Resources
Hot Environments: Control Measures

Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, Skills and Development (MLITSD)
Heat Stress Resources

National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health
Health Checks During Extreme Heat Events

UNIFOR
Heat Stress Fact Sheet

CUPE
Heat Stress Resources

Ontario Cancer Research Centre (OCRC)
UV Risk Assessment Technical Guide

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Heat Stress Resources

WorkSafeBC
Heat Stress Resources
Preventing Heat Stress at Work

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Heat Stress Resources

National Centre for Environmental Health
Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA)
Heat Stress Resources

Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA)
Heat Stress Resources
Heat Stress FAQs
The Hazards of Heat Stress

Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC)
Heat Stress Resources

OHCOW is pleased to have partnered with CROSH • CRSST in the updating and preparing of all these new resources.

Logo for the Centre for Research in Occupational Health and Safety (CROSH)

FEEDBACK

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