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Workplace safety a concern as heat wave continues in New Brunswick

Click to play video 'Some New Brunswick workers can’t escape high temperatures during heat wave' Some New Brunswick workers can’t escape high temperatures during heat wave
WATCH: The Maritimes is in the midst of a heat wave. But for some New Brunswickers, their jobs mean they can’t escape the hot temperatures. Morganne Campbell reports – Jul 4, 2018

If you think you had a hot day at work, think again.

That undesirable title goes to Peter Jones and his team at Atlantic Roofers in Fredericton.

On top of the roof they were working on Wednesday, the temperature was sitting at more than 74 degrees Celsius.

READ MORE: Heat warnings for N.B., N.S. as humidex expected to reach 42

“We’re using torches that range anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re using the flames and we got to weld our seams together so that adds to the heat. The sun beating on the black surface of the roof, that adds to the heat,” said Peter Jones, a foreman with Atlantic Roofers.

With humidex values reaching just below 40 for the third day in a row, those working outdoors have to find the balance between getting a job done and not getting sick.

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“Starting to get dizzy spells, head throbbing, you’re getting really dehydrated and you start making mistakes you shouldn’t be making or you normally wouldn’t make because your brain just isn’t functioning the same way,” said Jones.

“There’s no where’s to hide. We’re above the trees so typically there’s not a whole lot of shade,” explained manager Gary Armstrong.

During heat waves like the one we’re experiencing across Atlantic Canada, employers are responsible for monitoring the changing conditions in the workplace and adjust workloads accordingly.

WATCH: Temperatures soar as scorching heat blankets Eastern Canada

Click to play video 'Temperatures soar as scorching heat blankets Eastern Canada' Temperatures soar as scorching heat blankets Eastern Canada
Temperatures soar as scorching heat blankets Eastern Canada – Jul 3, 2018

Employers must also provide an adequate supply of fresh drinking water and delay tasks when necessary.

“It’s not reported very often, which is a good thing but I think part of it may be because the conditions that could create these serious health affects, they’re probably short duration and don’t happen very frequently,” says Richard Blais a director of compliance and regulatory review with WorkSafeNB.

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Relief is on its way as temperatures are expected to return to normal this weekend.