August 22, 2019

Research Organization Releases Updated Tools for Preventing Heat Stress

Updated tools from IRSST, a nonprofit scientific research organization in Québec, Canada, are intended to help employers, workers, and occupational health and safety professionals manage and prevent heat stress in the workplace. The newest tool, the Calculating Corrected Air Temperature tool, can be used to calculate heat stress using a simple thermometer or a psychrometer. According to IRSST, corrected air temperature, or CAT, can be used to estimate 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. “Calculating of Alternate Work/Rest Regimen According to ROHS” is intended to estimate the alternate work/rest regimen for working in a hot environment according to Québec’s regulation respecting occupational health and safety, 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, “Calculating of Alternate Work/Rest Regimen According to ACGIH,” 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. In addition to physical workload and WBGT values at the workstation and rest location, this app considers the type of clothing worn by the worker.

For more information on these tools, visit IRSST’s website.