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During the summer months, some campus buildings may experience higher than normal temperatures causing working conditions to be uncomfortable at times. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to follow the tips below to handle the heat.
Tips to beat the heat
- If you are experiencing extreme indoor temperatures, contact Facilities Services for your campus to ensure that the ventilation system is functioning as designed
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
- Limit physically demanding activities
- Take rest breaks as needed
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
Note that some individuals may be more susceptible to heat effects especially in combination with poor air quality. If employees are feeling ill and are unable to work due to medical concerns, they are encouraged to inform their manager and seek medical attention.
Do your part
Help keep indoor air temperatures to a minimum:
- Turn lights out and ensure computers are turned off at the end of the day
- If possible, turn off regular office lights and use task lighting
- Close window blinds at the end of the day and keep blinds closed to keep out direct sunlight
- If possible, leave exterior office windows slight ajar at the end of the day*
* Note: If your office is located on the ground floor, ensure that all windows are securely closed and locked at the end of the day to prevent theft.
To determine acceptable temperature levels in the workplace, WorkSafeBC uses Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) as the standard measure for heat taking into account air temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation.
As the WBGT and physical work demands increase, work schedules may be modified to provide rest/recovery periods. Light physical activity includes sitting to perform light manual work with hands and arms, and encompasses most office work. A summary of the WorkSafeBC criteria for work recovery cycles based on the WBGT and level of physical activity of the work are included in the table below.
WorkSafeBC regulation states that workers must not be exposed to levels that exceed the screening criteria for heat stress exposure. Note that a recovery period does not necessarily mean a complete break from work, but could include resting or performing light physical activities as described above.
Over the years EHS has tested areas of campus reporting high temperatures, however, recorded temperatures have very rarely approached or exceeded the WBGT limit.
For more information, review the SFU Heat Stress Prevention Guidelines to help prevent heat related exposures and illnesses.
If you have further questions please contact the Program Manager – Indoor Environmental Quality.