Environmental Risks


Environmental risks cause exposure injuries.  These risks happen when a job requires exposure to a dangerous condition. Prevention of these injuries includes dressing properly for the weather, assessing the worksite for electrical hazards (above and below), using the PPE for the job, wearing sunscreen and insect repellent.  Some injuries in this category include hypothermia or heat exhaustion, hearing loss due to noise exposure, electrocution, insect stings, allergic reactions, and exposure to noxious substances.

Learn how to reduce the environmental risks associated with:

Asbestos:  Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which contains strong fibers and was used in many buildings from the 1950s to the 1990s. Learn more.

Electric shock:   Many people who work in construction do not realize the high potential for electric shock injuries. Always use extreme caution when working around electricity. Learn more.

Eye injury:  More than 2,000 eye injuries happen every year in Saskatchewan. Protecting your eyes from flying particles, chemicals or objects is an important way to avoid injuries. Make sure you have the proper safety glasses or goggles suitable for the job you are doing. Learn more.

Flagging:  Highway workers are at a high risk of being injured or even killed while flagging. This is due in large part to the high speed of motorists and can become especially dangerous in high traffic areas where there’s a greater risk of aggressive drivers. Learn more.

Hantavirus:  Hantavirus disease is a rare but potentially fatal infection that is spread by deer mice and other rodents. People get infected when they inhale airborne particles contaminated by the saliva or excretions of infected rodents. Learn more.

Hearing loss: Working in loud environments over long periods of time can result in hearing loss. The most effective way to prevent hearing loss is to prevent or eliminate noise at the source. Learn more.

Heat exhaustion:  Heat exhaustion can develop quickly when you work in hot, humid weather. Your body overheats and raises your core body temperature from 37° to 40° Celsius or 98.6° to 104° Fahrenheit. Learn more.

Humidex: Humidex is a term to measure how hot we feel. Weather forecasters use the humidex to describe when heat and humidity combine at uncomfortable or dangerous levels. Learn more.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas:  Hydrogen sulfide (also referred to as sour gas, acid gas, stink damp, rotten egg gas or sulphureted hydrogen) is a highly toxic, colourless gas with the characteristic foul odor of rotten eggs. The gas can be very pungent at first, but quickly deadens the sense of smell which can cause victims to be unaware of its presence until it’s too late. Learn more.

Hypothermia: Hypothermia isn’t just feeling cold. Hypothermia happens when the body’s temperature drops below 35o Celsius (95o Fahrenheit) because the body loses more heat than it can keep. Learn more.

Night work: Working at night poses a serious safety risk for highway & construction workers. Those who work at night are at a higher risk for injury. Learn more.

Radon gas: In confined spaces, such as basements and underground mines, radon can accumulate to high levels and become a health hazard. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Learn more.

Sunburn: You develop a sunburn when your skin is overexposed to UV rays.  The amount of time it takes to become overexposed varies widely between people. Learn more.

Toxins in heavy construction: Some people may be surprised to learn that highway workers are at an increased risk for health hazards due to their profession. Highway construction workers can be exposed to a variety of toxic substances that can enter the body through breathing, swallowing and/or absorption through the skin. Learn more.