Heat stress can occur when the body is unable to properly manage heat and is often the result of working in warm environments.
Many workers in Canada are affected by heat stress. Some typical occupations where heat stress can be a concern are construction, road work, mining, farming and baking. Other industries that may have heat sources as a part of their processes include steel mills, foundries, smelters, fabricators, laundries and food preparation.
Common sources of heat can come from the summer sun, hot or molten materials or indoor environments that have high heat and high humidity.
There are several factors which influence a person’s ability to adapt or acclimatize to heat. People who have the following characteristics are often considered to be susceptible to heat stress: overweight, middle aged or older, in poor health, have a low fitness level, have a pre-existing medical condition or are on certain medications. People who possess these characteristics may be more susceptible to heat stress and may take longer to acclimatize to exposure to heat.