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Safety and Security

High heat

Heat illnesses and injuries

Heat stress and related heat illnesses and injuries occur when your body temperature rises above 38°C and your body's cooling system can no longer keep up with the heat. What may begin as excessive sweating, cramps or flushed skin, can quickly progress to moderate or severe heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Watch for the signs and symptoms below and act quickly when they appear. If you or anyone else experiences any of the signs and symptoms below, immediately report the incident to your supervisor and seek first aid.


Problems & symptoms Treatment Prevention
Heat rash (prickly heat)
Tingling and burning of the skin, red itchy rash. Sweat glands plugged due to prolonged exposure of skin to heat, humidity, sweat.
  • move to a cooler environment
  • thorough drying
  • cool showers
  • keep the skin as dry as possible
  • rest in a cool place
  • shower often
  • change clothes frequently
  •  keep skin clean
Heat cramps
Painful spasms of muscles that do the hardest work (arms, legs, and abdomen).
  • move to a cooler environment
  • massage the muscles
  • eat salt-containing foods (unless to be avoided for medical reasons)
  • warm up muscles before heavy work
  • take rest breaks
  • eat a normal, healthy diet
Feeling faint/light-headed
Increased flow of blood to the skin to get rid of excess heat can result in less blood to the brain.
  • lie down in a cooler environment
  • drink cool fluids to lower body temperature
  • call Campus Security for first aid 1-855-282-7770
  • drink plenty of fluids at regular intervals
  • avoid standing still in one position - move around
Heat exhaustion
Tired, weak, dizzy, clammy skin, slow weak pulse. Pale or flushed skin colour. Higher than normal heart rate. Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • move to a cooler environment
  • lie down with knees raised
  • drink cool - not cold fluids
  • call Campus Security for first aid 1-855-282-7770
  • take 4-7 days to adjust (acclimatize) to the heat
  • drink plenty of fluids at regular intervals
  • take rest breaks in a cool place
Heat stroke
Person usually stops sweating, body core temperature is high (40-43 degrees Celsius), skin is hot and dry. Person experiences headache, dizziness, confusion, may lose consciousness.
  • this is a medical emergency - call 911 and contact Campus Security
  • all measures shown above


Risk management and monitoring

The province of BC has developed a provincial Heat Alert and Response System (HARS) that defines the thresholds for safe heat levels by geographic area and guides decisions by organizations and municipalities on what actions should be taken at each. For the Fraser Valley, the thresholds are defined as the following:

  • Heat warning: Two consecutive days reach 33C with an overnight low of 17C in between
  • Extreme heat: heat warning met, plus daily highs forecasted to increase each day for 3 or more consecutive days

UFV uses this system to define safe work plans and provide guidance to the UFV Community for working and learning during periods of high heat. UFV Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) monitors weather conditions regularly and has developed a strategy to provide appropriate messaging to staff and students in a timely manner. These messages will be delivered by email to all current staff and students, and will be posted on UFV’s Urgent News Blog.

High-risk activities

UFV EHS considers the following tasks to be high-risk and requires activity modification during periods of high heat:

  • outdoor work, e.g. grounds, maintenance
  • hot work, e.g. boiler rooms, server rooms, cafeteria kitchen
  • work in areas of concern based on building systems, e.g. trades, culinary

Staff and students working and learning in these environments are required to follow the below work:rest ratios after temperatures reach 30C or more for a period of 2 or more hours, regardless of acclimatization.

Light to moderate work:

  • 30-32C – One (1) 10min break per hour of work
  • 32-35C – One (1) 15min break per hour of work
  • 35-36C – One (1) 30min break per hour of work
  • 37+C – cease work

Moderate to vigorous work:

  • 30-32C – One (1) 15min break per hour of work
  • 32-35C – One (1) 22min break per hour of work
  • 35-36C – One (1) 45min break per hour of work
  • 37+C – cease work

All other staff and students are advised to monitor personal reactions to heat and seek first aid assistance at the first sign of any of the symptoms mentioned above, but are not required to modify work. Any concerns regarding heat should be reported to your supervisor and to UFV EHS.

Report concerns about air quality


If you have concerns about the heat indoors

Employees with concerns regarding office or classroom temperatures are encouraged to contact Facilities at facilitiesservicedesk@ufv.ca.


Mitigation - office and home

How to avoid heat stress:

  1. Know the signs and symptoms of heat stress.
  2. Watch out for symptoms in yourself and others.
  3. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
  4. Drink water often – avoid drinks with caffeine.
  5. Take breaks in the shade and more often on hot days.
  6. Know how your workplace deals with heat stress.
  7. Report any safety concerns to your supervisor. 


To help keep home or office temperatures lower:

  • Turn off lights, computers, and other heat-generating electronics at the end of the day. 
  • Close window blinds to block sun and heat from entering the room.
  • Set ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise to help create a cooling effect.


More information

BCCDC - Preparing for heat events

WorkSafe BC - Heat stress

Government of Canada - Weather information

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