When people tell me that the August Civic Holiday is the halfway point of the summer, I often respond with “there’s no need for that sort of language.” It is, however the reality of living in Ontario.

This past weekend was a busy one for all sorts of reasons. A couple of years ago, my son was gifted a parcel of land when his beloved Nonno (grandfather) passed away at the incredible age of 93. Most of this property is rented to a local farmer, but my son chose to maintain the acre closest to the road. This is the place that we fondly call The Farm.

Where now stands a worn-down shack and shed used to be the tiny, impeccably clean farm cottage where the kids could take a nap, and behind that was the enclosures for the chickens, sheep and rabbits, not to forget the massive vegetable garden down the entire side.

My family holds very fond memories of the farm and the countless days spent there while Nonna (grandmother) and Nonno maintained the garden. The guarantee of freshly baked bread from the small wood oven was incentive enough to go and spend the day.

These memories have stayed with my son as he continues to refuse every offer to sell the land. He cuts the grass weekly and keeps it clean and tidy as a living memorial to his grandfather.

I had a quiet weekend planned, so when he asked if I wanted to join him for the drive, I grabbed my farm-appropriate PPE, water, and snacks, and off we went. A couple of hours in, I was not interested in raking another blade of grass, so I grabbed my water and sat down under a shady tree much larger than I remember.

The point of reminiscing about this old farm property is that, as I sat under the tree enjoying the shade, by 9 a.m., IT WAS HOT! I was wearing work boots, long pants, safety glasses, gloves, my trusty Tilly hat, and it was hot.

My point? As I sat there taking in all of the memories, the temperatures brought me back to what our industry does every day. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank every worker across the industry and remind everyone to take those few extra steps and precautions to remain safe during these hottest days of the summer.

Heat rash, cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are all very stark realities of what can happen, especially during summer. Both employers and workers are encouraged to take the appropriate steps to keep everyone safe in this weather.

Employers should develop a written health and safety policy outlining how workers in hot environments will be protected from heat stress. Adjust work practices as necessary when workers complain of heat stress. Making controlling exposures through engineering controls the primary means of control wherever possible. Oversee heat stress training and acclimatization for new workers, workers who have been off the job for a while, and workers with medical conditions. Provide worker education and training, including periodic safety talks on heat stress during hot weather or during work in hot environments. Monitor the workplace to determine when hot conditions arise. Determine whether workers are drinking enough water. Determine a proper work/rest regime for workers. Arrange first-aid training for workers.

Workers are also reminded to follow instructions and training for controlling heat stress. Be alert to symptoms in yourself and others. Find out whether any prescription medications you take can increase heat stress. Drink water regularly to maintain fluid levels and avoid dehydration. For more information, please refer to the following link at IHSA (Heat Stress can be hazardous. Learn how to safely work in the heat (ihsa.ca) )

From the LOC family to yours, we wish everyone a safe, fun, and memorable remainder of summer 2022.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Judith Reda at judith@theloc.ca