Updated Tools Help Prevent Heat Stress
IRSST, a nonprofit scientific research organization in Québec, Canada, has released updated computer tools intended to help employers, workers, and occupational health and safety professionals manage and prevent heat stress in the workplace. The newest tool can be used to calculate corrected air temperature, or CAT, using a simple thermometer or a psychrometer. According to IRSST, CAT estimates the thermal stress level for the purposes of preventive management of heat stress. IRSST notes that the calculation of CAT with this tool applies to “sufficiently acclimatized workers”; additional measures must be taken for workers who are not acclimatized. Two other tools for addressing heat stress are available from IRSST. One estimates the alternate work/rest regimen for working in a hot environment according to Québec’s occupational health and safety regulation, or ROHS. This tool considers parameters such as the physical workload and the wet bulb globe temperature, or WBGT, values at the workstation and the worker’s rest location. Another tool performs similarly, but calculates the alternate work/rest regimen according to the 2017 edition of the documentation of ACGIH’s threshold limit values for workers exposed to heat stress. This tool considers physical workload, WBGT values at the workstation and rest location, and the type of clothing worn by the worker. The tools are available from IRSST’s website.