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Outside workers learn to beat the summer heat

<p>For some Toronto workers, instead of a cubicle-packed office, their workplace is just a step outside.</p>


glynnis mapp for metro toronto


Ryan Boyer is an arbour worker for the private landscaping company, Pro Care Tree Experts.


For some Toronto workers, instead of a cubicle-packed office, their workplace is just a step outside.


Ryan Boyer, an arbour worker for private landscaping company, Pro Care Tree Experts, has to combat the summer elements every day. Boyer got into the landscaping industry through friends and started working by clearing trees and shrubs at 16.


Now at 27, he’s still working hard and battling the elements every day.


He has been working with Pro Care for five years now, trimming tree branches and performing full removal of deadwood trees.


“It’s a lot of work, it’s back-breaking. It gets even harder when we’re working in the heat,” Boyer says. “We look out for each other and try to stay healthy when we’re working.”


Conditions can be intense and when heat and smog are at its highest, working your best can be difficult for outside workers.


Health experts warn smog and intense outdoor heat can affect workers who make their living by working outside.


Marco Vittiglio, manager of emergency preparedness at Toronto Public Health, says people should take the appropriate steps to prevent the dehydration when working outside.


“Staying well hydrated and taking frequent breaks can help,” Vittiglio says. “Water helps your body cool itself down and encourages the natural system of perspiration.”


Working strenuously when outside temperatures are high makes body temperature rise and fight to keep the body cool.


“Eating light meals and staying away from alcohol and caffeine are good ways of giving your body less work to do,” Vittiglio says. “(Workers) should also have a buddy system so that they can keep an eye on each other while they work and watch for the symptoms of heat stress.”


The nine-to-five workday doesn’t exist for Boyer, he and his team of six other arbourists work outdoors for 12 to 14 hours a day. Although his hours are long, Boyer makes sure he and his co-workers take adequate rest, so they don’t burn themselves out.


“You really got to pace yourself,” Boyer says. “I’ve adapted to the conditions and have learned how to take care of myself just by working like this for so long. Eating lots of fruits, wearing sunscreen for protection and drinking a lot, helps me get through it.”


For more information on how you can beat the heat while working outside, go to www.toronto.ca/health.
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