Hot workers and hot workplaces

Don’t sweat it — tips for fulfilling employer health and safety obligations
By Sherrard Kuzz LLP, Employment and Labour lawyers
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 07/18/2012

As the peak of summer is upon us, an employer should be mindful of its legal duty to protect employees from danger or injury resulting from work in hot temperatures.

Jurisdiction

Maximum Heat Exposure

Other Notes

Canada - Federal

No specific maximum, but government policy recommends following ACGIH thresholds*

Exceptions for offices, personal food preparation areas, materials handling operators’ compartments and first aid rooms.

Ontario

No specific maximum, but government policy recommends following ACGIH thresholds*

Every reasonable precaution to protect workers must be taken. Specific temperature restrictions exist in the construction industry (eg. 38C in work chambers and 27C in air locks).

British Columbia

ACGIH thresholds* apply and must be followed

Assessments, plans, protective equipment and cool water must be in place where workers are exposed to “extreme heat.” Indoor temparatures must fall within an “acceptable comfort range.”

Quebec

Ranges from 25C to 32.2C depending on nature of work

Maximum heat exposure depends on whether work is light, moderate, or heavy and how frequently a worker rests.

Alberta

No specific maximum, but government policy recommends following ACGIH thresholds*

There is a general duty to identify and report existing and potential hazards.

Manitoba

ACGIH thresholds* apply and must be followed

Employer must provide information, instruction and training regarding the symptoms and prevention of heat stress

Saskatchewan

No specific maximum, but government policy recommends following ACGIH thresholds*

Employer must maintain thermal conditions reasonable and appropriate for work performed.

Nova Scotia

No specific maximum, but government policy recommends following ACGIH thresholds*

General duty to take every reasonable precaution to ensure health and safety of employees.

New Brunswick

ACGIH thresholds* apply and must be followed

Temperatures must be frequently recorded and workers given adequate rest when exposed to “extreme heat.”

Newfoundland & Labrador

ACGIH thresholds* apply and must be followed

Temperature must be frequently monitored and additional precautions taken (eg. Provide special clothing and/or cold drinks) where possible exposure to “extreme heat.”

Prince Edward Island

ACGIH thresholds* apply and must be followed

Employer must take precaution where risk of injury or illness from heat is possible (eg. Develop a plan/procedures, and provide additional equipment or training).

*American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) standards provide a maximum temperature range of 24C to 32.5C (subject to individual acclimatization of employee and intensity of work performed).

Sherrard Kuzz LLP is a management-side employment and labour law firm in Toronto.

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